By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
Extensive voter apathy appears to impair the Area Council elections held in the Federal Capital Territory on Saturday.
Reports from different parts of the Municipal Area Council showed that many voters shunned the polls for lack of interest in the exercise and lack of faith in the outcome of the election.
In the Maitama district, presiding officers were seen waiting for eligible voters to arrive for accreditation and voting.
A presiding officer at Maitama Model School 1, Polling Unit 026, Muhammad Jamal, said only three persons had approached the unit to cast their votes as of 09.55am out of 5617 registered voters.
“The turnout is low as expected. A lot of voters are yet to leave their homes,” Jamal added.
The agents of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Aposu Samuel and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Aghedo Felix, confirmed Jamal’s account.
“Because this is not a presidential election or a National Assembly poll, we are not seeing a large turn-out of voters today, but this year’s voter apathy is one of the worst in recent history,” they said.
The situation was the same in the Garki Area 8 voting centre 015 of the Abuja city centre where most of the eligible voters in the area chose to spend the day relaxing or indulging in leisure activities.
Also, PU 016 along Muhammadu Buhari way has become sort of relaxation spots as some party loyalists who made up the bulk of the people who had turned out to vote entertained themselves with drinks, snacks, and fast food while waiting for the election to come to an end by 3:00 pm.
In the same vein, the Presiding Officer at Polling Unit 018, Post Office, Garki Area 10; Abdulbaki Jatto, told one of our correspondents who visited the area at 10.20 am that only 150 persons out of 3311 registered voters had voted.
“We have not had issues with the Biometric Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) device. We have not had any reason to resort to manual accreditation,” Jatto said.
Meanwhile, when the FCT Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Yahaya Bello, visited the Garki Area 10, PU 018, to monitor the election, he expressed satisfaction with the accreditation and voting process, saying “INEC has done its best for the FCT poll to be free, fair and credible.”
A voter, who spoke in anonymity, said it took her about 10 minutes to discover her name in the voters’ register, get accredited and cast her votes for her preferred chairmanship and councilorship candidates.