FCT Area Council Elections: Despite having 1.3m registered voters, low turnout mars poll

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council election which held yesterday was characterised by low voter turnout, dysfunctional and failed Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) devices as well as late arrival of officials for the commencement of the exercise, despite assurances by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) that the polls would be better than past ones.

There are a total of 1.373 million registered voters in the FCT spread across the six Area Councils, 62 Wards, and 2,822 polling units in the Territory.

However, it was observed that less than 50% of the voters, especially in the city center, comprising, Asokoro, Garki, Wuse, Maitama, Wuse-2, Jabi, Gwarinpa turned out to exercise their franchise.

Hours after the election finally commenced behind schedule, due to the late arrival of voting materials and INEC officials, very few or virtually no voters were seen at most of the polling units (PUs) especially the newly created ones.

When newsmen visited the PUs at the PTF Estate in Wuse-2 and Onitsha Crescent, in Asokoro, there were no voters, though the poll officials including, security operatives were on the ground.

Also, at several other places visited by newsmen, only a handful of people were at polling units to elect their council leaders and lawmakers.

“We have this long-standing issue of non-indigenes not wanting to come out and vote during area council elections,” said a voter, who simply identified himself as Ahmed.

The creation of new PUs also disenfranchised many voters, some of whom were unaware of their new polling units and were turned back by officials.

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