By Ismail Auwal
The just concluded Local Governments elections in Kano State has witnessed the highest ever level of voter apathy, according to the SAHELIAN TIMES investigations.
Many residents refused to turn up at polling units, as the main opposition party in the state, the People Democratic Party (PDP) did not participate in the poll.
The elections started late in many polling units across the 44 local governments with officials and election materials not arriving at polling units at the time the election was supposed to start.
A party agent of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in one of the polling wards in Nasarawa Local Government said, “There were people that had initially shown interest but the officials are yet to arrive and this was after 11:00 am.”
Many polling units visited by SAHELIAN TIMES had no voters at the sites and Kano State Independent Electoral Committee (KANSIEC) officials were either chatting with the APC party agents or sleeping on their desks, whiling away time.
At P.U 052 Gama, Nasarawa Local Government, SAHELIAN TIMES learned that at 2:00 pm, the unit only recorded one vote, before the party officials allegedly collected the ballot papers and thumb-printed them themselves.
“Why should we waste our time in the sun, after all at the end we know who the winners are?,” queried Sagiru Koje, in an interview.
“They should have just announced the APC candidates as the winners and allowed us to go on with our usual businesses,” he added.
However, businesses remained open in many local areas where the elections were ongoing with shops opened to offer normal services for customers.
The indifference was displayed by motorists, as vehicles were moving freely despite the restriction announced by the police.
Few hours after the elections, the Chairman of the State Independent Electoral Commission, Prof. Ibrahim Garba Sheka, declared the APC as winner of all the 44 chairmanship and 484 councillorship seats in the poll.
Sheka was later, on the election day, sighted at Kano state Government House enjoying a lavish dinner with the state chief executive, an act the opposition party and observers said has made a mockery of the independence of the state electoral umpire.
Abdullahi Garba Ramat, who was declared the winner in Ungoggo Local Government, has been facing corruption charges in the state anti-graft agency, while there are reliable reports that some of the candidates have failed the mandatory drug test and yet the party refused to replace them.
According to Jaafar Sani Bello, a member of the opposition PDP, “There is a need for a rethink on how the conduct of election is being carried out by the electoral commission”.
He recommended an independent way of choosing the leadership of the state independent electoral commission or it’s abolition and return to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).