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#SupplementaryElections: Chaos in Sokoto as party bigwigs clash at polling units

Sokoto – Some notable party Chieftains have engaged in popularity supremacy at Magajin Gari ward ‘B’ Shiyyar Danfarijo polling unit 005 and 009, where supplementary polls are taking place.

This led to chaos in the supplementary poll for the Sokoto North local government area of Sokoto state.

Area Boys fight over the alleged distribution of money for votes at a polling unit in Alagomeji-Yaba in Lagos on February 23, 2019. – Nigerians voted for a new president after a week-long delay that has raised political tempers, sparked conspiracy claims and stoked fears of violence. Some 120,000 polling stations opened from 0700 GMT, although there were delays in the delivery of some materials and deployment of staff. (Photo by STEFAN HEUNIS / AFP)

The presence of party Chieftains, Alhaji Murtala Daniya of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and two All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains, Alhaji Abdullahi Hassan, a one time chairman of Sokoto North LGA and APC youth leader, Nasiru Italiya at the polling center disrupted the procesess.

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Police had to use teargas on the crowd and deploy more personnel before normalcy was restored after the election was put on hold for about three hours.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Daniya of the PDP, who was among the early voters, displayed his ballot sheet to the public, a situation that led to throwing of sand and objects at INEC officials, security men and the party chieftains.

The Presiding Officer, Mr Otu Cassius, told NAN that they reported for election duty as early as 7 a.m and that screening and voting commenced simultaneously as there were no hitches with the card reader.

Cassius, a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member, said the processes were well untill the incident.

A PDP agent at the polling unit, Alhaji Bashiru Abdulkadir told NAN that it was right for Daniya to publicly display what he voted because even a presidential candidate did it after voting in the just concluded presidential election.

However, the APC agent Muntari Muhammad opposed the position, stressing that it violated electoral laws and said he had lodged a complain to the authorities.

NAN reports that voting went smoothly at Sarkin Yaki Polling unit 008 in Sarkin
Musulmi Ward ‘B’ and Danhilin Hubbare polling unit 004 also in Sarkin Musulmi Ward ‘B’ in Sokoto North LGA.

The apresiding officers at the units, Ahmad Hassan and Sa’adatu Adamu said they reported early and election commenced at 8 a.m.

APC State Treasurer, Alhaji Haruna Adiya, who voted at Kyafe polling unit 008 in Magajin Rafi ward ‘B’, urged authorities to deploy more security men to regulate the rowdy situation.

Mr Zakari Umar, the Supervisor of Domestic Election Observer in Sokoto North LGA, said the processes were orderly in line with regulations.

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Umar, who is from YAGA Africa said incident forms were being compiled to be reported to relevant authorities.

NAN gathered that vote buying became the order of the day at Rajiya polling unit 004 in Sokoto South local government area.

The situation led to the arrival of the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Garba Danjuma and other security chiefs at the polling unit.

ASP. Muhammad Sadiq, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) assured that the situation was under control.

“In every election we expect some challenges but presently the situation is under control as you can see.

“We will tackle all irregularities and maintain the peaceful atmosphere through out the exercise, ” he said.

In separate interviews, the state Commissioner of Finance and Higher Education Alhaji Sa’idu Umar and Prof. A’isha Madawaki urged security agencies to remain vigilant in ensuring the success of the re-run.

They expressed confidence in the overall process and urged INEC and other stakeholders to play the game by the rules.

NAN reports that Police directive on restriction of vehicular movements from 8 a.m to 6 p.m was flouted.

The supplementary elections witnessed high turnout generally, but amidst security challenges, with residents calling for deployment of more security personnel.

The re-run is being conducted in 135 polling units across 22 local government areas of the state to determine who wins the governorship seat. (NAN)

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