Voter apathy and open vote buying were the hallmark of the governorship and House of Assembly election in Niger State.
Unlike what happened during the presidential and National Assembly elections, there was serious low turnout of voters in the ongoing governorship and House of Assembly elections.
It was business as usual in most local government areas visited as voters went about their normal businesses, defying the non-movement order by the INEC.
In Chanchaga, Paiko and Gurara local governments, less than half of the population of voters that turned out during the presidential election were available for the election.
It was observed that the few voters that turned out were being openly induced to exercise their franchise, and to vote for the ruling APC in the state.
It was observed that security was also not tight at the polling stations with some of the units not having any policeman even though there was no crisis in most of the polling units visited.
The polling stations however opened before 8.00am.
The process has so far been peaceful and orderly with no complaints of electoral materials.
Meanwhile the state Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Jibrin Iman, has expressed optimism that the party’s governorship candidate and incumbent Governor Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, would emerge victorious in the election.
Jibrin Imam who stated this after casting his ballot at his Gawu polling station in Gurara local government are of the state said the electorate have absolute confidence in the candidate of the party.
“We are optimistic of victory; I don’t expect that we will lose this election.”
Contrary to what observers of the election saw Alhaji Jibrim Imam said there was massive turn out of voters in the election, attributing the sparse crowd at polling units to the implementation of simultaneous accreditation and voting policy.
Imam also said that the policy of holding the presidential and National Assembly elections first was good and should be continued.
In Suleja local government, it was observed that vote buying was the order of the day.
Some youths who were short changed refused to vote while a group of women grumbled that they were offered N500 each instead of the earlier agreed sum of N1,000.
Agents of the political parties appeared to have been compromised which made vote buying very easy.