Dino Melaye and Adeyemi

Melaye vs Adeyemi: Voters apathy mars Kogi West rerun election, INEC reacts

The Kogi West Senatorial rerun Election between Senator Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Senator Smart Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress, APC, holding across 53 polling units has been marred with voters’ apathy.

According to our correspondent who reported that some affected polling units in Lokoja where elections were cancelled reports that elections material arrived as early as 8am.

Some polling units visited included Paparanda Square, and Maigairi Palace.

Accreditation and voting are going on smoothly with the presence of security personnel and party agents.

Some electorates who spoke to the report on Saturday said some people decided to shun the process over fair of possible attack by suspected thugs as witnessed on November 16th.

A voter who never wanted his name in print said, ” You already know some of the reasons why voters decided to stay back at home. I’m here to fully all righteousness. Last Saturday in Kogi was a theatre of war. We saw men in police uniform invading polling units to cause mayhem on the people and snatch ballot boxes.

“You are a journalist, you could attest to the fact that over five persons lost their lives here in Lokoja. As if that was not enough, we could attest to the fact that helicopter bullets in several places hit residents who are not even outside to cast their votes.

“So with this, nobody wants to come out and vote over the fear that he might be hit by bullet or get killed. I must tell you, this does not speak well for our democracy. If this continues, nobody will be willing to come out and vote in the future”.

It could be recalled that the rerun which first took place on November 16 was declared inconclusive by the returning officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Olayinde Lawal.

According to him, the total margin between the All Progressives Congress, Mr. Smart Adeyemi and that of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Dino Melaye was lower than the number of cancelled votes in 53 polling units of the 20 registration.

Senator Adeyemi is currently leading with a total of 80,118 votes, while Senator Melaye has 59,548 votes from the seven Local Government Areas during the November 16 rerun

Meanwhile, the Kogi State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Professor James Apam, has blamed the low turnout of voters in the Saturday’s Kogi West senatorial district rerun on poor mobilisation by political parties.

He was speaking against the backdrop of voters’ apathy observed in most polling units visited in Lokoja wards.

Apam said that instead of the political parties to embark on membership drive aimed at convincing their supporters on the need to come out and vote for them, they turned around to blame the Independent National Electoral Commission for poor turnout of voters.

Some voters told our correspondent, that the low turnout could be blamed on the fear of a repeat of the violence that greeted the November 16 election.

Bala Bariga, a Peoples Democratic Party chieftain at Ward C Polling Unit 001 attributed the low turnout to citizens’ mindsets that their votes don’t count.

He also said more voters stayed away for fear of being caught in any violent crossfire.

However, as of the time of filing this report, there has not been any reported case of violence as the few voters on the queue were seen casting their votes without any hindrance.

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