It is history!, Nigeria seems to have come of age with a more purposeful and more determined democratic process, with a season of authentic Democracy dawning on the country following a successful election exercise which has spanned through a tedious three weeks period.
The Nigeria Independent Electoral Commission, the body that is carrying out the exercise has made credible history putting the nation high on the graph of credible democracy as the world looks and hopes for the better and acknowledging that the process, though not without regional skirmishes and imperfection has been very high on mark award.
Professor Attahiru Jega, a University lecturer, the man at the helm of affairs in INEC by the end of the week when the whole exercise w0uld have near finishing and completion will go down in history as the best Election umpire the nation has ever produced, with his name going on record as one of Africa’s greatest statesmen.
Reports are coming of many incumbent governors currently in mourning as they have to force down their throats the bitter pill of defeat. Here are some reports across the nation as results are still trickling into the tables of INEC across the country.
•Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Imo record massive turnout •Kano, Gombe, Jigawa, Enugu record poor outing
Elections in Kaduna and Bauchi states will hold on Thursday to give more time for the return of peace in those two states after the post election violence that trailed the outcome of the April 16 presidential election.
In many parts of the country, however, turnout was low, especially in the North; probably as a result of the post-election violence which ensued after the April 16 presidential election.
In Plateau State, where a rescheduled National Assembly election took place alongside the gubernatorial and state assembly elections, the exercise went on peacefully against the anticipated fear of violence.
The turnout in areas such as Dilimi, Yan Trailer, Katako and Nassarawa areas of Jos North and Ladura Du was relatively encouraging as most polling units commenced accreditation and voting early.
Chris Giwa, the Plateau State gubernatorial candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), who spoke to journalists in Jos, said he was encouraged by the turnout and conduct.
Giwa, who commended INEC and security operatives for their organization, said his chances were bright and encouraged all contestants to take the outcome of the election in good faith, saying that it is God who gives power to anybody.
Buba, chairman of Jos North Local Government Area, also expressed satisfaction with the general conduct of the election and advised voters to be orderly and peaceful as they exercise their franchise.
In Akwa Ibom State, there was a large turn out voters even as the election went off relatively peacefully in most polling units.
Voters in Uyo senatorial district also voted to elect their representative in the upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly as election did not take place in the senatorial district on April 9 when parliamentary polls took place in other parts of the country.
In Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area, voters trooped to the polling units in large numbers for accreditation in anticipation of subsequently casting their votes.
Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Uwem Ita Etuk, told reporters that the large turnout was due to the mobilisation of voters, saying that the party had done a lot of work during the campaigns ahead of the elections.
In Etim Ekpo, the situation was the same. The turn out was impressive and the accreditation went off peacefully without hitch.
Akwa Ibom had been regarded a flashpoint ahead of the election, but the atmosphere during the election showed no semblance of violence.
However, accreditation did not commence in time in Uyo Local Government Area as voters were still casting their votes well beyond 4 p.m.
According to Ita Enang, a member of the House of Representatives, the delay in the collation of results was due to the absence of separate ballot papers for the three elections.
He said INEC should have presented voters with separate ballot papers for the gubernatorial, House of Assembly and Senate elections, adding that since voters used one ballot paper, it would take a lot of time for the collation to be completed and for the results to be announced.
In Imo and Lagos States, the election was also peaceful and turnout was impressive.
In Kano State, the turnout was very low. Speaking with BusinessDay, the out-going governor of the state, Ibrahim Shekarau, attributed the low turnout to the last post-election crisis that rocked the state.
Shekarau, who was the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) presidential candidate in the just concluded presidential poll, made the observation after voting at his Giginyu Primary School polling centre in the metropolis. He noted that the crisis caused many of the potential voters, especially the aged people and women, to develop cold feet for the election.
He however expressed the hope that as time progresses, more voters would come out to vote before the conclusion of the election.
On the performance of INEC, Shekarau commended the Commission and said that the election would be better than the previous ones, as the electoral body has been on the drawing board to correct its past mistakes.
He pointed out that the INEC leadership under Attahiru Jega has piloted the affairs of the Commission to the best of their ability.
At the Tarauni Primary School polling centre in the metropolis, voter apathy was very glaring as a large number of women voters was observed to have stayed away from voting.
A similar trend was observed at the Giginyu Primary School polling centre in Nassarawa Local Government Area where only a few voters were seen on the queue trying to vote.
In the Sabon-Gari area of Fagge Local Government where many of the non-indigenes who were victims of last week’s violent attack by rampaging youths in the state reside, the apathy was more pronounced.
In Katsina State, CPC presidential flag bearer, Muhammadu Buhari, voted at Sarkin Yara polling unit, Daura, with his wife, Aishatu, who decried the low women turnout in the area.
The women attributed the low turnout to the loss of interest in the exercise following the outcome of last week’s presidential election result.
Jemila Rabu of Ungwar Tone, who was accredited at the Sarkin Yara polling unit, expressed hope that more women would turn up for the exercise.
Another voter, Bashariya Tukur, said she was not happy with the result of the last election, assuring that more women would turn up for the exercise before accreditation ended.
Tukur said women had listened to the appeal by political parties and stakeholders in the area, and said they would come out en masse to vote for candidates of their choice.
In Kebbi State, low turn out marked the accreditation which was conducted amid tight security.
The accreditation in Jega, Fakai Local Government Area, also witnessed low turn out of voters even though it was hitch free.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the State, Kabir Ahmed, told NAN that refusal of voters to turn out was due to voter apathy.
“We have placed several announcements on radio and television appealing to them to turn out en mass as past challenges would be rectified”, he said.
In Adamawa, eligible voters attributed the low turn out for the State Assembly election to the suspension of the gubernatorial election in the state until 2012.
A cross-section of the eligible voters in Mubi South and Maiha Local Government Areas of the state told NAN that voters were discouraged by the suspension of the gubernatorial election.
However, accreditation of voters commenced in most polling units in Mubi area as early as 8am in spite of the low turnout.
In Jigawa, many eligible voters boycotted the elections in spite of elaborate arrangements by INEC to ensure early deployment of election officials and materials.
Ibrahim Ali, a 54-year-old voter in Dutse, attributed the low turn out to the post-election violence witnessed in the state last week.
NAN/ Business Day.