Niger records peaceful elections

By Ummi Ismaeel,
Minna
Niger State on Saturday, March 9, 2019 recorded a near peaceful Governorship and State House of Assembly elections, as there were pockets of crises in some parts of Bida Local Government Area.
In Bida electoral officers ran for protection at the INEC office, as miscreants threatened to unleash mayhem.
But the state
Governor, Alhaji Abubarkar Sani Bello, has commended the Independent National
Electoral Commission (INEC) for improving in service delivery compared to what transpired on February 23, 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections.
Voting was temporarily disrupted in some areas in Bida when trouble broke out over allegations of trying to influence some eligible voters with sums of money to cast their votes for particular candidates on the platform of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) by a top state government functionary.
The elections were said to have commenced at about 9am at the different polling units after the accreditations when some suspected political thugs loyal to the said government functionaries suddenly demanded that the exercise should stop forthwith.

The order by the political thugs, according to eye witness did not go down well with opponents who in reaction tried to resist plans to scuttle the ongoing voting process leading to hot exchange of words which degenerated into free for all.

Swift intervention by security personnel at the poling units, who quickly called for re-inforcement saved what could have degenerated into a full-blown fight between the political thugs said to be loyal to
the state government functionary and others opposed to the ruling
party in the state.
Among the areas affected included; Yabagi Karfia Bamishun Esso polling unit, Alhaji Dino Unit and Emi-Lafarima, all within Chinia Ward, a stonethrow from the residence of the Niger State Head of Service, Alhaji Sule Alhaji Yabagi.
Some of the voters said, “Yabagi is desperate to win the area for APC and that is why he has mobilized thugs to cause crisis. He is giving people N1, 000, some N2, 000 and N500, respectively, to vote for the APC”.
Efforts to get the Head of Service react to the allegations proved abortive as at the time of filing the report as the youths insisted that “The Head of Service specifically ordered his boys to create
crisis in the area if the people refuse to vote for the APC so that the election will be cancelled and that is why they started intimidating voters, asking them who they voted for”, a voter said.
The youths were said to have also challenged the Head of Service to allow people vote for candidates of their choice but their stand only aggravated the fury of the political thugs loyal to the Head of Service and in the ensuing melee disrupt the voting process by over powering the electoral officers and tried to shift the polling units
to a particular section of the area apparently with the intentions to
rig the elections in favour of the APC.

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