Mixed Reactions over Election Postponement in Bauchi

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From Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi

The postponement of the general election, which was to start with the Presidential and National Assembly polls on Saturday as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) was greeted by residents in Bauchi with mixed reactions.

Commercial activities were paralyzed as most shops and markets did not open for business due to the earlier directive by security agencies that movement would be restricted during the election.

While some respondents described the sudden postponement as a setback for the democratic development of the country others saw it as a welcome development considering that it needed to be done well.

THISDAY checks revealed that in some polling centres in Gwallameji, Yelwa and part of Bauchi metropolis, as early as 6:30am voters who were not aware of the postponement had started converging in anticipation of the commencement of the elections.

Some of them who volunteered to speak to our correspondent who went round some polling units expressed disappointment over the development, describing it as a deliberate attempt by the government to remain in power having discovered that it had lost popularity among most Nigerians who were dissatisfied with the present situation of things in the country.

Malam Usman Muhammad of Tashan Babiye opined that, the rescheduling of the elections should have been done much earlier, saying INEC on several occasions had announced that adequate arrangements had been made for the conduct of the general election.

Another respondent, Malam Bello Sambo, called on the authorities concerned to as a matter of urgency find lasting solution to the problems which led to the rescheduling of the exercise.

He called on the electorate not to be discouraged due to the rescheduling of the elections, and expressed optimism that the elections would be conducted in a peaceful atmosphere.

Reminded that similar thing happened in the past, those who responded declared that it was the reason the present government which was then in opposition castigated the then government and promised to change things positively only to fall into the same trap of wanting to remain in power at all costs.

Some of the respondents though agreed with the reasons given by the INEC national chairman for the postponement but opined that the Commission should have made the decision public earlier than the time it did considering that not all the people have access to information at such a time of the night.

Also, reports monitored by our correspondent revealed that electorate in Bogoro LGA (base of the Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara) had queued early in the morning to cast their votes only to be told that elections had been postponed to next week Saturday.

In his reaction to the development, a youth activist, Mohammed Sani Hassan, declared: “I have lost confidence in Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC Chairman. The guy seems to be doing the bidding of the opposition party. It is very unfortunate to say the least. I’m deeply sad and depressed with the decision taken. Allah yasa haka shi ne mafi alkhairi. Ameen”.

Meanwhile, commercial activities were paralysed as most shops and markets did not open for business due to the earlier directive by security agencies.

A visit to Wunti, Central, Muda Lawal, Railway, Yelwa and other markets within Bauchi metropolis revealed that commercial activities were at the lowest ebb as people did not turn up while those who were seen said that they got the news of the postponement rather late and just decided to come out to see if they can make sales.