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Published On: Mon, Mar 11th, 2019

Saraki, Atunwa, others blame low voters turnout on militarization of polls

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From Oluseyi Dasilva

The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has blamed the low turnout of voter in Saturday the Saturday’s governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections in Kwara state militarisation of the process.
Saraki while speaking with newsmen after casting his vote alongside his wife, Mrs. Toyin Saraki, at Ode Opobiyi polling unit 005, Ajikobi ward in Ilorin West local government area of the state however commended the voters for their orderliness and peaceful conduct during the exercise.
It could be recalled that the military and other security operatives had since Thursday engaged in a show of force around strategic locations in Ilorin metropolis.
There was also the deployment of a military jet to the state capital.
The Senate President, however, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to strictly use the card readers for the exercise.
Also, Hon. Razak Atunwa, Governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP in the state has joined his voice in condemning the militarization of the election which resulted in poor voter turnout.
Atunwa, speaking with correspondents shortly after casting his votes at Berekodo ward, Asa Local government area said that the locals get easily scared of the presence of policemen not to talk of Military men who went about harassing people even before the election day.
He was however optimistic of winning to become the next Governor of the state based on feelers from polling centers across the state.
The former Kwara House Speaker also mentioned issues relating to the certificate forgery leveled against his arch rival in the contest, All Progressives Congress candidate, Abdulrahman Abdlurazak stressing that he with sufficient evidence, the court will disqualify his opponent and declare him winner at the end of the day.
Similarly, a former Minister of National Planning, Professor Abubakar Suleiman Olanrewaju, condemned the militarization of the exercise in the state.
Suleiman, while addressing journalists after casting his vote at Ode Opobiyi 005 polling unit, in Ilorin West Local Government, described the process as undemocratic, pointing out that soldier were chasing away voters.
Suleiman, who is the Director General of the 2019 PDP Mandate Campaign Organization in Kwara state, said that this is not what Nigerians are yearning for, saying that any government that engage in such act would not last.
On the issue of card readers, Suleiman noted that there are still reports of malfunctioning of card readers in some of the polling units, urging the electoral umpire to ensure that the machines work perfectly.
Meanwhile, the Candidate of the Alternative Party of Nigeria (APN), Kwara state, has called for cancellation of Saturday Governorship and House of Assembly elections in the state over omission of its party and logo from the ballot paper by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Addressing the media in Ilorin on Saturday, the aggrieved governorship candidate of the party, Ambassador Muhammed Abubakar, described the development as injustice to him and his party.
Abubakar, who said that he was sure of winning at the poll, added that failure of INEC to cancel the poll would question integrity of the commission.
“I am addressing the press because my party logo was omitted from the ballot paper for the governorship election. I contested under the party and won as the candidate of the party, my name was sent to INEC. I was cleared by INEC and my name was on the list when it was pasted. But I was surprised this morning that my party’s name and logo was not on the ballot paper. My supporters came out enmass to vote but could not see the party’s name.
“I called INEC national headquarters to complain about it and took a protest letter to Kwara INEC which was rejected. I am rejecting the election and no result should be announced.
“I am demanding justice from INEC to cancel the election and conduct another one within two weeks because I am certain of winning the election as governor of the state. I have been denied my right and if the election is not cancel then integrity of INEC should be questioned”, he said.
He also said that he nor his party was part of those who stepped down and called for support of the APC governorship candidate before the elections.

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