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By-elections: Voting suspended in Kano, Enugu, A/Ibom over violence

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday suspended voting in several polling units in Kano, Enugu and Akwa Ibom States over reported cases of violence,…

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday suspended voting in several polling units in Kano, Enugu and Akwa Ibom States over reported cases of violence, disruptions, irregularities and abduction of election officials.

Daily Trust on Sunday reports that the elections, held in 26 states, were to fill vacancies in three senatorial districts, 17 federal and 28 state constituencies spread across 80 local government areas, 575 registration areas/wards and 8,934 polling units.

Our correspondents observed low voters’ turnout at most of the polling units; while violence and irregularities were said to have marred the polls in most of the states.

Sam Olumekun, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, in a statement yesterday, said voting was suspended in Ikono/Ini Federal Constituency, Akwa Ibom State in two units (Village Hall, EdemUrua 003 in Ini LGA and Village Hall Mbiabong Ikot Udo 003 in Ikono LGA) where all election materials were carted away by hoodlums.

Also, the election was suspended in Enugu South 1 State Constituency, Enugu State, in all the eight polling units where the original result sheets were not available for inspection by voters before the commencement of the polls.

Similarly, in Kunchi/Tsanyawa State Constituency, Kano State, voting was suspended in all the 10 polling units in Kunchi LGA owing to invasion and disruption by thugs.

“The decision of the commission aligns with the provisions of Section 24(3) of the Electoral Act, 2022. Further necessary measures for the affected constituencies will be announced after the Commission’s meeting on Monday.

“INEC invites the security agencies to investigate the incidents, while the Commission commits to thoroughly interrogating any breaches involving its officials,” Olumekun said.

INEC officials held hostage in Plateau

Voting in some polling unit in Jos North LGA was marred by protest over inadequate ballot papers with some officials of the electoral umpire held hostage by voters who alleged that the irregularities were parts of plots to disenfranchise them.

In one of the polling units at Salama Junction Polling Unit of Kabong Ward, voters stopped the exercise when they realised that there were only 100 ballots papers for the by-election into the House of Representatives and 1,000 for the Senate.

Polling Unit 015 inside GSS Chwelnyap in Jos North LGA had only ballot papers for the House of Representatives’ poll and none for the Senate’s as of 1.30pm, leading to a boycott by voters already on the queue.

However, at Polling Unit 052 at Rock Haven, Jos North LGA, voters held the election officials hostage, insisting they would not be allowed to leave until they provided an adequate number of ballot papers for the poll.

A similar challenge of inadequate ballot papers was recorded at Tudun Wada/Kabong ward where INEC officials presented only 100 ballot papers for the House of Representative’s election in a polling unit with 1,720 registered voters.

As of the time of filing this report, INEC had not reacted to this development. Efforts to reach the INEC Commissioner, Muhammed Haruna, who was deployed in Jos, failed as his line was unreachable.

Police arrest thugs attempting to disrupt polls in Kano, Yobe

In Kano, the police arrested suspected thugs with weapons at Kunchi and Tsanyawa constituency re-run elections.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mohammed Usaini Gumel, said the suspects, about 30, “are not just youths but criminals.

“We saw a truck that was faulty by the roadside. We saw people in large numbers by the roadside. At first, they gave us the impression that it was the fuel of the vehicle that was finished. But upon close observation, we saw them in possession of arms.”

Re-run elections took place in parts of six local government areas of the state where three state House of Assembly constituency seats were being contested.

The affected constituencies are Kunchi/Tsanyawa (where votings had been suspended), Kura/Garun Malam and Rimin Gado/Tofa.

Many polling units of the two other constituencies were peaceful when our reporters visited.

Bus conveying thugs intercepted in Yobe

The police in Yobe, in collaboration with the army, intercepted an 18-seater bus and arrested seven occupants suspected to be thugs planning to disrupt the election.

The police spokesman in the state, Dungus Abdulkareem, said a military checkpoint intercepted the bus while conveying thugs to Damaturu Metropolitan Council to cause mayhem in the electoral process.

He said the police took the thugs to custody for investigation and prosecution.

Voter apathy and alleged vote-buying marred the Yobe East Senatorial District’s by-election which was held following the resignation of Senator Ibrahim Geidam who was appointed the Minister of Police Affairs.

Our correspondent observed that many polling units were scanty with only electoral officials sighted at some of the polling units at noon.

Low turnout, tight security in Lagos, Ebonyi

Daily Trust on Sunday reports that there was low turnout of voters for the by-election into Surulere Federal Constituency 1 despite the tight security by mobile police officers, military personnel and operatives of the Department of State Services.

The election was conducted to replace the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, who vacated the seat after his appointment by President Bola Tinubu.

In Ebonyi, our reporter observed low voter’s turnout for the Ebonyi South Senatorial bye-election held to replace the Minister of Works, Dave Umahi.

The election took place in five local government areas which have 870 polling units with 436,254 registered voters.

Low voter’s turnout was also observed in Taraba State where the election was held

There was a relatively high turnout of voters in Sokoto where voters trooped out to elect their representatives for Yabo-Shagari Federal Constituency, and Bodinga-North and Tambuwal-West state constituencies.

Voters decide fate of Kaduna speaker

Our reporter also observed that voters in five poling units in Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna State trooped out Saturday morning to decide the political fate of Dahiru Liman as the representative of Makera Constituency as well as the speaker in the Kaduna State House of Assembly.

The election process commenced on scheduled as election personnel and voting materials were dispatched to polling units affected in the re-run elections.

The voting exercise commenced at 8.15 am at polling unit 005 located at Government Day Secondary School Barnawa which has 750 registered voters.

APC, PDP trade words over intimidation, vote buying in Bauchi

In Bauchi, the All Progressive Congress (APC) yesterday accused the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of vote buying and intimidating its (APC) supporters during the rerun election in the 42 polling units across the three local government areas of the state.

The senator representing Bauchi South Senatorial Zone, Shehu Buba, who made the allegations in a chat with journalists in Bauchi said, “We received reports from various polling units that Bauchi State Government has deploy its officials with money buying votes from prospective voters.

“They also sent their senior government officials to polling units intimidating our members who resisted the vote buying.“

But the PDP, through its Publicity Secretary, Yayanuwa Zainabari, denied the allegations saying that the APC was raising a false alarm.

Zainabari, said, “It is not true because the allegations is just a grip of defeat knowing fully well they are losing the election. This election is conducted with enough security personnel to ensure a peaceful election.”

LP demands cancellation of Enugu poll

Following the decision of the INEC to suspend voting in some polling units of Igbo-Eze/Udenu Federal Constituency, Enugu State, the Labour Party (LP) said the election should be cancelled.

Its National Secretary, Umar Farouk Ibrahim, in a statement, said he led the party’s monitoring team to polling stations involved in the by-elections and that due process was not followed.

The LP’s candidate in the election, Dennis Agbo, also called for cancellation of the supplementary election.

By Abbas Jimoh (Abuja), Yusufu Aminu Idegu (Jos), Salim Umar Ibrahim (Kano), Abdullateef Aliyu (Lagos), Abubakar Auwal (Sokoto), Maryam Ahmadu-Suka (Kaduna), Magaji lsa Hunkuyi (Jalingo), Habibu Idris Gimba (Damaturu), Nabob Ogbonna (Abakiliki) & Hassan Ibrahim (Bauchi)

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