Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Voters shun polling units, go farming on Kaduna by-election day

Voters were said to have lost confidence in the process and felt their votes might not count even if they exercised their franchise.

• August 14, 2021
Farmers used to illustrate story
Farmers used to illustrate the story [PHOTO CREDIT: Federal Ministry of Information and Culture]

Low turnout of voters characterised Saturday’s by-election in Lere Federal Constituency of Kaduna state, as the electorates were said to have lost confidence in the process and had felt their votes might not count even if they exercised their franchise.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that rather than coming out to vote, most people chose to go to farms instead, leaving most of the polling units with few voters.

The by-election into the Lere Federal Constituency is to fill the seat, following the death of the member representing the constituency, Suleiman Lere, who passed away in April.

Political parties that fielded candidates are the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Congress (APC), Young Progressives Party (YPP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and People’s Redemption Party (PRP). 

Some of the voters interviewed said people considered their farms more important than electing their representatives. Others said they’ve lost faith in the electoral process.

Khadijah Usman, a politician, said the loss of confidence in the electoral process was responsible for the apathy. According to her, voters are still sceptical about the relevance of their votes, considering their experiences in the past.

Lazarus Ishaya, a politician, said people were engrossed in farming and had little or no time for voting, especially considering the current economic situation in the country. He said the turnout might improve later in the day when people might have returned from their farms.

The election, which was generally peaceful across the area, started as scheduled with accreditation and voting happening simultaneously. The Card Readers in all the polling units visited were in perfect condition as at the time of filing this report.

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