Rivers records voter apathy 

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There was low voters’ turnout in Rivers state in the Saturday governorship and House of Assembly poll.

Compared to the February 25th Presidential election, most voters stayed away from polling units.

The situation was reported to be worse in areas dominated by non-indigenes where the people stayed indoors.

The roads were deserted and people were seen enjoying the game of soccer.

Also, the Independent National Electoral Commission’s  officials arrived early to the polling units and waited for voters, who came in trickles to cast their ballots.

The residents were seen going about their businesses.  

Ward 9 Unit 7A, where the state Governor, Nyesom Wike polling unit, also recorded low turnout.

Though the election was generally peaceful, skeletal reports of skirmishes and gunshots were reported in some parts of the state.

Wike scored the electoral process high.

He however decried an attempt by the Director of Security in INEC to breach security in favour of the Governorship Candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Magnus Abe.

On voters’ apathy, the governor said: “It is much better today unlike what we experienced in 25th of February. When the first election came, people didn’t get what they wanted, they were discouraged. 

“But for whatever it is you can’t force people to go and vote. I am happy with the peaceful nature the way the election is going. It means the security agencies are doing well. 

“It is unfortunate because even if INEC had denied it, which is expected. I can tell you the Director of Security carried out the act because Magnus Abe is from Ogoni and the director of security is from Ogoni. I don’t want to go into details because heads will roll. 

“But for the director of security in such a sensitive commission to breach security is quite appalling. But we thank God the headquarters has come out to deny it and the security has notified us of it. I have not had any complaints. They have done very well. They improved more than what we had on February 25th”.

The Governorship Candidate of the Accord Party, Dumo Lulu-Briggs, scored the process high.

 He said:  “The process is seamless I would say at this time. I made the same assessment in the last elections, it was seamless up until 3pm. Many people have voted and there is no intimidation and harrasment. 

“This morning, even though there is a lot of town criers sent out to intimidate people but from last night till now people are coming out in their number to cast their votes. 

“Nobody can deny anybody their right to a chance to choose who will become their governor. They should come and cast their votes and whosoever wins, wins”.

The Secretary to Rivers State Government (SSG), Tammy Danagogo, hailed the governorship and House of Assembly electoral processes in Degema Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of the state.

Danagogo, who spoke shortly after casting his votes in  Ward 4 Unit 20, described the processes of accreditation and voting as smooth.

He said: “I thank God, just like last Election the accreditation process and infact the voting process went smooth. The BVAS here in my unit are working very well although there is one unit that they said it’s not working, but INEC officials have gone there.

“We hope that from every unit in my ward is working well with the report that I have gotten except one unit. Well naturally, everybody learn from history both the youth and security agencies they have learnt their lessons all of us have learnt our lesson.

“So, it won’t be too much of a  wide thinking that that is what is influencing what is happening. Everybody knows that it doesn’t pay to be violent . It doesn’t really help anybody. it is wind that does not blow anybody any good.

“As we can see it now,  so  far so good if what is happening will continue like this until the collation and declaration stage then I will say that we will commend INEC”.

Magnus Abe on his part dismissed the allegation of security breach. 

Abe said the claim is childish; adding that his security details were withdrawn.

Abe alleged that the elections were marred by intimidation claiming that people were ordered to vote for the PDP.

Also, the Rivers State Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Tonye Cole, complained of intimidation of voters in some parts of the state.

Cole, who spoke shortly after casting his votes, said: “Well, so far we are getting some reports of vote buying and a bit of intimidation and reports of people being warned that if they don’t vote PDP, they should write their will and they should not come out. 

“So we are taking notes of these things and taking notes of the unit where that is being reported because we are going to write a petition against those units  where there is intimidation and threat.

“In order areas we see that elections are going peacefully but we also hear reports and we need to make sure that this does not happen immediately after the voting process and counting.

 “We have also gotten some  reports  from Asar-Toru that voting has not started at all because the electoral officers have not been found. There are many reports like that.  

“We believe that we will still come out on top. We want to say that it’s very important that intimidation should not be part and parcel of an electoral process, people should be allowed to vote freely and vote their mind”.


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