Speaker Dogara Votes, Describes Large Turn out As Impressive …As Journalists Pass Through Hell in The Hands of Military Personnel
Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
The Speaker of the House of Representatives and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Dass, Bogoro and Tafawa Balewa Federal constituency, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has described the large turnout of voters as impressive, saying the election process was “fairly okay, and a bit smooth”.
Dogara, who cast his ballot alongside his wife at his hometown in Bogoro, headquarters of Bogoro Local Government Area of Bauchi State at about 9.47am, also lamented the failure of the card reader to automatically authenticate him.
According to him, “I think it’s fairly okay, judging by what I have seen here. It’s a bit smooth, but in a sense, you know I had a problem with the card reader, it couldn’t automatically authenticate me. So I had to thumbprint on the voters register for me to vote. So, that is one of the flaws I have noted, even though the process of authentication is repeated twice. But somehow, somehow, the card reader couldn’t accept my finger print. So, I had to thumbprint the voters register for me to vote. That is one of things I have noticed.”
Earlier, a large turnout of voters in Bauchi State was recorded in several polling units across the state.
THISDAY checks revealed that hundreds of voters including women were seen standing orderly in the queue eagerly waiting for the commencement of the exercise as INEC officials were seen sorting out voting materials.
Though voting has not commenced at the crowded Habilla Zaki polling unit in Birshi Miri ward in Bauchi Local Government, voters came as early as 4:00 am to be in the front.
One of the voters, Dorcas John, at the Habilla John, told THISDAY that she came out at 4am to cast her vote.
She said despite coming out that early, she still met about 30 others on the queue.
At Bauchi Club Unit 2 in the state capital, policemen were seen inside the polling unit contravening the 200 meters rules as they were seen chatting with voters as the electoral officers set cubicles for voting.
Meanwhile, it was nightmare for some journalists covering the elections along the Bauchi-Tafawa Balewa road when armed soldiers harassed them in the course of carrying out their duties.
The nasty experience first started at Dass Local Government when a fierce looking officer, Lieutenant Y Ahmed, stopped a correspondent chapel bus conveying journalists on election duty.
The problem started when one of the journalists explained that they were journalists on election duty. This innocent introduction did not go down well with the officer who barked ‘park! park! as his subordinates join the fray to query the journalists.
“Are you more special than us? If you are on election duty and so what? Park my friend. See my name. You want to see my name? Whoever you want to call call,” he said.
It took the intervention of the Chairman of the Correspondent’s Chapel, Mr Segun Awofadeji, who was leading the team, to calm the situation after calmly explaining the mission as the Lieutenant became sober.