Kwara by-election: Low turnout, peaceful

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The by-election to elect representativevof the people of Patigi Constituency at the Kwara State House of Assembly was held on Saturday with ow turnout of electorate, Duaglobalnews reports.

The exercise, which took place in Patigi Local Government Area alone, started around 8a.m with few electorate seen on queue waiting to exercise their votes.

Duaglobalnews correspondent, who monitored the poll in many polling units reports that some of the voters called for the creation of more polling units in the local government area.

Reacting to the low turnout of the electorate in the exercise, the Sttate Resident Electoral Commissioner(REC), Malam Garba Attahiru Madani, described the development as not unusual.

According to him, the electorate may have felt that the election is not a major one.

“Low turnout was expected, because the election was not a major one and moreover, there was no enough time for preparation for it.

“We thank the National Orientation Agency, NOA, for its support,in terms of sensitisation campaign of the electorate for the exercise,”he said.

Speaking with journalists after casting his vote, at Gadazaba polling unit, the People Democratic Party, (PDP) candidate in the election, Mohammed Salihu Yahaya, however, expressed delight at the large turn out of voters for the exercise at his polling unit.

“The large turnout of voters at our polling unit is a sign of love and excitement of producing next representative from our people, irrespective of where the pendulum will swing,”he said.

Mohammed, however, called for the creation of more polling units in the local government area, to make such units closer to eligible voters in the area.

He observed that many voters usually pass through a lot of physical distress such as trekking long distance to exercise their civic responsibility during election.

“We appeal to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to give us more polling units in Patigi Local Government Area.

“Our people trek as much as 14 kilometers before getting to their polling unit, this distance discourages some of them from coming out to vote,”he said.

He noted that the population of registered voters in Gadazaba polling unit alone was enormous, adding electorate from about 7 villages came to this polling unit to cast their votes.

The All Progressives Congress(APC) candidate in the election, Adam Hameed Rufai, the junior brother to the late lawmaker, Saidu Hameed Rufai, whose death necessitated the by-election, commended the security agencies and INEC for the peaceful election.

The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Aisha Ahman Pategi, an indigene of the area, also called for the creation of more polling units in the local government area.

She said,“Definitely,insufficient polling unit is one of the challenges voters are facing in this area.They expressed it during 2019 general elections.

“If more polling units are created, it will make it much easier for electorate to exercise their voting right.”

The commissioner,however, applauded the electoral umpire and security agencies for the peaceful exercise.

Contributing,the State Director, National Orientation agency, Segun Adeyemi, urged INEC to improve on arrangement of materials at the polling units in the subsequent elections.

The call he noted became necessary, most especially, on cubicle meant to protect voters while casting their votes.

He commended also INEC for the timely distribution of election materials and described the by-election to be a peaceful one.

The NOA boss in the state expressed optimism that the atmosphere would remain calm up to the collation centre and after the announcement of the winner by INEC.

On the call for the creation of more polling units, the INEC commissioner, said the national body of the commission was working on creation of more polling units across the country.

“We are aware of the calls for the creation of more polling units and national body of the commission will do that before 2023 general elections,” he said.

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