Low turnout mars House of Assembly election in Edo North.


Contrary to the expectations of a large voter turnout for the rescheduled governorship and state assembly election, reports from across the country show a different hue

While some election pundits have described the election as the worst of its kind and have even gone ahead to query the results that will emerge at the end of the whole exercise, they are, however, in agreement that the level of voter apathy in this election is unprecedented

Early reports said there was a general apathy on the part of the voters to come out and cast their votes. Where they did, they did so in trickles.

Across the Edo North senatorial district, the situation is not in any way different from the experience elsewhere.

In Auchi, the commercial nerve center of the district and also the headquarter of the Etsako West council area, a random visit to some of the polling units by our political report indicates a high level of voters apathy

For instance, in Auchi Wards 1, 2, and 3 where our reporter visited for a first-hand feel of the situation, he saw a handful of voters waiting patiently to undergo the accreditation and voting process simultaneously. Even the INEC staff on the ground had little or nothing to do as the crowd was sparse unlike in the February 25 national assembly and presidential elections when they were overwhelmed by the crowd of enthusiastic voters

In an interview after casting his vote at one of the polling units in Auchi, Engr Saliu Ahmed, an Edo North APC chieftain and the managing director of Benin- Owena River Basin Development Authority, BORDA, said he was bothered by the low number of voters he saw when he went to cast his vote but also expressed the hope of an improvement before the close of voting.

Similar situations were noticed by our reporters in the other parts of the district about the tale of low voter turnout

From Agbede in South Ibie, Etsako West to Igarra in Akoko Edo to Fugar in Etsako Central to Okpella in Etsako Central; Agenebode, Etsako East and Warranke in Owan West, the story was the same.

Some of the voters who spoke with our reporter attributed the worrisome incident of voter apathy witnessed during the election to the loss of confidence in the ability of the INEC to deliver a free, fair, and credible election.

Also, the cash crunch which prevented rapid mobilization of the voters to the various polling units as well as the loss by some of the popular candidates in the last election was cited as part of the reasons for the low turnout of the voters.

At the time of compiling this report, the situation has not significantly improved. Many voters chose to stay away from the polling units and instead decided to keep themselves busy with other house chores

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