Former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, Director General of the Peoples Democratic Party Governorship Campaign Council, Professor Ali Ahmad and governorship candidates of parties in Saturday’s gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections have expressed divergent opinions over the exercise.
Saga Gist reports that although the exercise was peaceful, it was however characterised by low voter turn-out in the majority of the voting centres visited.
Speaking with journalists after casting his vote at his Agbaji voting centre in Ilorin on Saturday, Dr Bukola Saraki, hoped that INEC would have learnt from what happened in the last February 25,2023 and the negative impact it had on the country’s image.
He expressed optimism that “this time around, once results are concluded, INEC will upload as promised and transmit on their systems.”
Acknowledging that the turnout was low, the former Senate President said “let us wait and see at the end of the day.”
On the issue of the functionality of the technology deployed for the elections, Saraki said he suspected the equipment was intentionally sabotaged in the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.
In his own reaction, the Director General of the PDP governorship campaign council in the state, Professor Ali Ahmad, described the exercise as peaceful, but marred by low turnout of voters due to what happened in the last elections.
“People’s massive turnout in the last elections was apparently different from the declared results because of some factors, so you could expect that people would lose interest and that could be dangerous,” he said.
Prof Ali noted that the process has been good.
He said: “We have to be on our guard, we knew what happened; voting will be good, compilation will be good, but when it comes to INEC’s major responsibilities, that is when you begin to hear big, big grammar about guidelines. Despite what the INEC chairman spent in two or three years [and despite] the unprecedented amount budgeted for INEC this year.”
He added: “INEC has no reason to disappoint Nigerians as they did the last time; but Nigeria is a country without consequences, otherwise, the INEC chairman should have resigned honourably, because his performance fell short of expectations of Nigerians.”
Also reacting, the gubernatorial candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, Professor Shuaib Oba Abdulraheem, complained about the mutilation of his party’s logo on the ballot paper.
He described the process as good, coupled with the peaceful and orderly conduct of the electorate, and prayed for trustworthy election results devoid of manipulation of any sort.
Hakeem Lawal, the gubernatorial candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in the state, blamed the low turn-out of voters on transportation challenges faced by voters and lack of belief in the electoral process.
He observed that the enforcement of restrictions on vehicular movements by security operatives also indirectly disenfranchised the majority of the voters.
Lawal informed that reports reaching him from the party’s House of Assembly candidate in Baruten LGA indicated that some BVAS machines were deactivated in some polling units in the area, hence there was no voting in the units.