Low Turnout of Voters, Card Reader Failure Mar Bauchi Senatorial by-election

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    From Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi

    The Bauchi South Senatorial District By-election was held Saturday amidst tigth security in the seven affected local government areas of the state with low turnout of voters in some of the polling units.

    There were also cases of card reader failure, thereby delaying accreditation of voters.

    THISDAY Checks revealed that in some polling units in Dass, Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro, screening of voters did not commence at 8.am as stipulated, but voters queued, awaiting to be screened.

    Our correspondent who visited some of the polling units in Bauchi metropolis reports that Iate arrival of election officials delayed the commencement of accreditation of voters which was scheduled to commence by ‪8am‬ as most of the officials arrived the polling units between 9 to 9.30am.

    Our correspondent also observed that only few electorate were seen on the queue at the polling units visited in Bauchi metropolis.

    The accreditation could not still commence immediately even when the officials arrived the polling units as many of them were battling with their card readers which could not come up due to network failure.

    Out of the eight polling units visited by our correspondent, only three had commenced accreditation as at the time of filling this report.

    The polling units are Mayama Judu Wado, Daniya Hardo, new state, Danyia and Bauchi club polling units, among others.

    The presiding officer at New state 1 polling unit, Olamide Olajimbiti, told newsmen that the officials came late to the unit due to the delay in collecting election materials at INEC office.

    According to him, “we were supposed to be here by 8am but we arrived at 9.35am because we had delay in the collection of materials at INEC. And presently we are having network problem because the card reader is not connecting but we’ve contacted the office and we believe it will be fixed so that we can commence accreditation.”

    On the low turn out of voters, an agent of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at Mayaman Judu Wada polling unit, Ndayo Bassey, attributed it to the failure of APC led administration to deliver dividend of democracy to the people.

    He said “most of us in this polling unit are for PDP because this unit belong to us and we will capture this unit with other units across the state. As we all know that the people are not happy with the government of APC including their members as they have failed to meet the yearnings and aspiration of the people.

    He therefore expressed optimism that PDP candidate will win the senatorial election adding” we believe PDP will surely bounce back to power both at the state and national level.”

    Also, All Progressive Congress (APC) agent at Bauchi club polling unit, Shama Daniel said the exercise was going on smoothly assuring that APC will win the election.

    At the Bagel/Bajar 001 polling unit in Dass local government area, an INEC official, Adulsahad Suleiman, said that the card reader machine malfunctioned as it was not identitying the voters, adding that the situation will be reported to the headquarters for rectification.

    At Sarkin Arewa/Muzadu 001 polling unit, accreditation of voters commenced at 8am and the card readers at two polling points were functioning as expected, but with low turnout of voters.

    Two voters Abubakar Jamilu and Amina Kabiru at the polling unit, attributed the low turnout to farming activities associated with the rainy season, adding that some people had gone to thier farms.

    At the Bagel/Bajar 001 polling unit,
    the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Senatorial candidate, Honourable Marian Garba Bagel, who was also waiting to be screened, complained about the malfunctioning of the card-readers in her polling unit, saying that the voters will still wait until the problem is rectified.

    She however refuted the allegation that she had withdrawn from the senatorial race, saying that the propaganda was the handwork of her political opponents who were bent on reducing her popularity before the electorate in the state.

    According to her, “As you can see I came her to be accredited and cast my vote.I have not withdrawn from the race.The propaganda is the handwork of my opponents. When I heard of it yesterday, my public relations officer went to the media to refute the allegations and called on voters to disregard the propaganda and com3 out enmass to cast their votes.