By Harris Emanuel, Uyo
Apathy can be adduced as the reason voters’ turnout was low during the weekend local government polls conducted by the Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission.
The polls was very peaceful and violence free, with no case of ballot snatching, reckless driving, but many people on the streets expressed dismay over bad governance at the grassroots, as the reason they stayed away from the exercise.
‘’In fact, many people did not go out to vote because its of no use. The council over the years has remained a conduit to siphon revenue that could have been used to develop the grassroots. Allocations are shared among the so called stakeholders in the state.
So , I cannot go and vote for somebody that I know will not benefit me or do anything to better the lots of the people, other than to use the funds for himself and his family as well as people around him or her’’, an elegible voter who simply described himself as Mfonobong said at Eyobasi, Oron local government area.
Major political parties especially the leading opposition party, the All Progressives Congress(APC) opted out of the race thus leaving only the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and eight other smaller parties to slug it out.
APC had accused the state government and the PDP of conniving with the State electoral body to undo it, adding that there was no confidence in the electoral body to conduct a credible, free and fair election.
Besides, the opposition party had also kicked against the creation of additional 39 wards, saying it was unconstitutional and a ploy by the Commission to rig the council election in favour of the PDP
Therefore, Saturday’s council election witnessed massive voters apathy across most units and wards in the state.
In Oron, Udung Uko, Mbo and Okobo local government areas, voters turnout was nothing to write home about as they could be counted with a finger tip, even as materials did not arrived some of the units on time but the elections closed on the stipulated time.
However, Governor Udom Emmanuel was quoted as commending the Commission for working to ensure a transparent and smooth Local Government election in the state and also applauded the electorate for conducting themselves peacefully and orderly during the exercise
Emmanuel reportedly gave the commendation on Saturday at his polling unit, Awa ward 1 after carrying out a simultaneous accreditation and voting at 10am.
He said, “I think this is one of the peaceful elections we have ever had. I drove from Uyo down here trying to monitor the elections. I like the quietness and orderliness of the elections and I am also surprised at the preparedness of AKISIEC, the quality of materials; it is of a very high standard.
“The transparency of the processes is commendable. They have done a good work but it is unfortunate that people will still be complaining even when we score the process 99 percent. I would only encourage them to do more.’’
Asked whether he still has confident in the Local government system, Emmanuel said, “I have confidence in the system. If I didn’t have confidence, why should I waste my time coming here? I have confidence much more than ever before. This is the most peaceful elected to elected elections, grace pass grace’’, he said.
The electoral body was still collating the ‘results from the local government areas as at the time of filling this report on Sunday afternoon.