The Plateau State Local Government elections in Jos North, Bassa, Jos South, Barkin Ladi among others were generally peaceful but experienced a very low turnout of voters allegedly due to the tension that predicated the conduct of the exercise.
Also, another possible reason attributed to the low turnout is the non-participation of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the elections.
VELOXNEWS recalls that a State High Court sitting in Jos, had on 29th September, 2021 dismissed a suit filed by the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), challenging the decision of the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC), which had excluded the party from participating in the local government council polls.
Justice Ishaku Kunda, who delivered the judgement on the matter, upheld PLASIEC’s decision, and said the suit by PDP lacked substance, because the party could not abide by the guidelines of the commission in participating in the elections.
Kunda maintained that PLASIEC has the right to have refused PDP nomination and expression of interest forms for the said election; stressing that the PDP erred for not having followed the instructions.
The judge sighted the judgement of SP Gang of November 20th, 2020, which ordered the party to conduct state congress, the party went ahead to evoke sections of its constitution and dissolved the state EXCO and constituted a caretaker committee which conducted its primaries that produced the candidates which PLASIEC refused to issue forms.
In the circumstances, the judge held that all the steps and actions taken by the caretaker committee of PDP, including the conduct of the said primary elections was null and void.
“The entire claims in the submission of the claimant is hereby dismissed,” the Judge stated.
Furthermore, the PDP went to the Court of Appeal, in Jos, seeking an injunction to stop the conduct of the polls, but the court denied them the request, saying since the tenure of the elected officials at the local government had elapsed, a vacuum cannot be created.
However, VELOXNEWS was at Kabong South Polling Unit in Jos North LGA as early as 9am, where electoral materials were being distributed to election officials covering the Kabong Ward of the area.
The number of prospective voters was scanty while security personnel were seen accompanying materials to the various units.
At the Jenta Mangoro Polling Unit with code number 014, voting had not commenced as at 10 am due to protests by voters who complained that a different ballot box belonging to another unit was brought to them.
Similarly, Patrick Musa, a resident of Jos Jarawa, expressed his disappointment when the PLASIEC officials brought a ballot box belonging to Anguwan Rogo polling unit with the code number 068.
Also, at the Jenta Makeri junction polling Unit with code number 003, there were no voters around as at when VELOXNEWS came.
From records, the unit has 841 total registered voters but only a few cast their ballots as at 10am. The same was the situation at St. Luke’s Primary School Polling Unit with number 008, all in Jos North LGA.
Almost a similar situation at Ali Kazaure Ward, where most Polling units had security personnel and election officials sitting idle while people were going about their normal business. But some form of activities were going on at the Kwararafa cinema Polling unit.
In Bassa LGA Jengre, Miango, Rukuba, among others, it was gathered that the turnout of people was very poor but that there were little hitches.
Same was also gathered from Gyel, Vyang, Du and Zawan areas in Jos South.
Speaking to some residents in some of the aforementioned communities, Bala Musa, said, “I’m a PDP supporter, my party is not participating, so why should I bother going out to vote, infact to vote who.”
Also, an APC member, Chuwang Peter, said, “why would I bother voting, when we have won already?”
“I’m happy, because we are going to form a government across the 17 Local Governments, but I’m sad because there was no mobilisation materials from the party, because there is no stiff competition”.
Also, speaking, former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Suleiman Yahaya Kwande, cast his vote at the Hill station Junction Polling Unit 002, describing the voter turnout is low.
He, however, attributed it to the tension that predicated the election.
“The turnout is a bit low, let me be honest with you. But then you know how people are. We Nigerians, we like to do that African timing. There was lots of tension and anxiety, especially yesterday waiting for the judgement from the Appeal Court. But we thank God everything went on smoothly,” he stated.
However, despite the low turnout of voters, the APC councillorship candidate for Vandapuye Ward, Evangelist Grace Vandapuye, expressed her satisfaction with the conduct of the election.
“I am highly impressed with the people of Vandapuye because they gave me massive support.
“The people came out for the candidates and not the party,” she stated.
Voter apathy mars Plateau LG poll