1st December, 2012
Delay in the distribution of materials and low turn-out of voters marked the commencement of Saturday’s local government elections in Kaduna State, in Nigeria’s northwest.
As at 11 a.m, the electoral officials were yet to be at most polling units across the state for the election that was scheduled to begin by 8 a.m.
Reports from Chukun, Zaria, Kaduna North, Birnin Gwari, Kubau, Kaduna South and Soba Local Governments indicated that the materials were yet to be distributed.
In Jema’a Local Government, however, the election was said to have started on time.
In Kaduna North only three of the 12 polling units had received election materials, so also in Soba where the exercise was also being delayed.
Efforts to get the reaction of the local government electoral officers proved abortive as most them said they were barred from granting media interview.
The Electoral Officer for Kaduna North Local Government, Mustapha Ibrahim, said that that the delay was due to late arrival of the election supervisors for the area.
the turn-out in most of the areas was unimpressive, as people moved about their normal businesses.
In Anchau, Kubau Local Government, markets and other businesses were opened, while farmers were seen on their farms harvesting crops.
Some of the eligible voters expressed dismay over the situation, saying that it was discouraging.
One of them, Aliyu Barkat said at the Bida road polling unit in Kaduna that most voters were out as early as 7.50 am, “now it is 11 am and we are returning to our various homes without casting our votes”.
In her reaction, the Chairman of the state Independent Electoral Commission, Mrs Hannatu Biniyat denied any hitches, saying that the election was going on smoothly.
She told newsmen in Fadan Kagoma, shortly after Gov. Patrick Yakowa cast his vote, that the commission would ensure the success of the exercise.
Gov. Patrick Yakowa also assured that Saturday’s council elections in the state would be free and fair.
Yakowa gave the pledge in Fadan Kagoma, shortly after casting his vote along side his wife, Mrs Amina Yakowa and the traditional ruler of the area, the Kpop Gwom, Dr Zaka Wyoms.
He said that the exercise had been peaceful throughout the state and urged the electorate to abide by laid down rules guiding the elections.
The governor pledged that the elections would usher in changes in the running of the local councils, adding that local governments in the state would witness “lots of transformation in the next couple of years”.
Meanwhile, angry eligible voters in Chukun Local Government had to be pacified on Saturday as they wait endlessly for election to commence.