By Nicholas Dechi
Adikpo (Benue) – The late arrival of electoral materials is frustrating many prospective voters eager to vote in the ongoing Benue local government elections, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports.
Our correspondents, who went round some polling units in Adikpo, Kwande and other local governments, found voters loitering around the polling units while waiting for electoral officers and materials, as at 1.50pm.
At some units, NAN found that the electoral officers were already seated but had not commenced accreditation as the materials were still being awaited from the Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC).
At the Adikpo market square, Ityo Atoakaa, ACC, Hausa Quarters, St Andrew and Mbaamander polling units in Adikpo, some voters, who said that they arrived the polling point at 7am, told NAN that they were frustrated and had given up.
“There appears to be no sign that anyone would come to conduct any election here. I will just go back home,” a young voter, Ben Iorshaher, told NAN.
At Adanyi and Bur polling units, there was neither a voter not an electoral officer, as at 1.40pm when NAN visited.
NAN also observed that only members of the Benue vigilante group were seen around the polling units, a sharp departure from previous election exercises when the police and other security outfits were in charge.
Efforts by NAN to confirm the reason for the absence of the police did not yield much fruits, with the Benue Police Commissioner, Bashir Makama, merely declaring that adequate security arrangements had been put in place for the exercise.
Some people, who spoke on the apathy that greeted the local government polls, claimed that many stayed away because they suspected that government would announce names of their candidates as winners.
Mr Terzungwe Awua, a resident of Usar , and Timothy Iorwuese, a student and resident of Adikpo, told NAN that they were not interested in the polls because the exercise would not be fair.
“We have participated in local government elections many times. Those declared winners are usually different from those voted,” they said.
Mr Wilfred Jinge, a teacher, said that he was not keen on voting because he was afraid that his vote would not count.
Some voters, however, expressed optimism that the electoral body would be fair to everyone, and cautioned voters against throwing away their rights to decide who governed them.