In the wake of a global pandemic that has once put the world in a tailspin and cast uncertainty on many activities, Edo people went to polls to choose the next leader to steward the state’s ship.
Though the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced that there are 2,210,534 registered to vote in the state, in the election that happened from the 18 Local Government Areas, 192 Wards, and 2,627 polling units in the state, only 1,726,738, collected their permanent voters’ cards (PVC) were eligible to vote in the election.
On Saturday, when the governorship election was held, the voters’ turnout, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was at a historical low at 25 per cent amid the tension of impending violence and rift. In 2016, the last time a governorship election was held, the turnout stood at 32 per cent.
Despite predictions to the contrary, the election was mostly peaceful. Except for some parts of the state where violence erupted, the capital, Benin City, was calm, with election observers meandering around.
Below is a table showing the number of registered and accredited voters in each local government and the percentage of voter’s turnout.
S/NLOCAL GOVERNMENTREGISTERED VOTERSACCREDITED VOTERSPERCENTAGE
4Esan North East842452824133
5Esan South East768422027426
14Ovia North East1430092860720
15Ovia South West964092455825
In this year’s election, 25 per cent voters turned out for the election in the state.
Owan West Local Government had the highest number of voters that turned out for the election with 53 per cent, however Egor Local Government had the lowest with 18 per cent.
The average for this year voter’s turnout is lower than the year 2016.
Giving the cause for the low turnout in the just concluded election, the Accountability Program Manager at the Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), Mboho Eno, in an interview with this reporter, said, “The low turnout of voters is largely due to heighten the level of violence during the campaigning period. The reports in the media portrayed the election as being a violent one almost like what was witnessed in Kogi State.”
Mr Mboho also said, “Voter apathy is as a result of votes not counting previously. Citizens are consistently losing faith in the electoral process. Some are of the opinion that the judiciary is rendering citizens’ voices useless with the manner of electoral justice dispensation.
“There was also no adequate citizens’ mobilization, even after the tension was doused. Political parties, CSOs, INEC and socio-cultural groups need to do more in mobilising citizens to turn out to perform their civil responsibility.He further said that “The fact that the two main political parties did not present the people with any fresh alternative might have contributed to the poor turnout.
“Political parties in Nigeria need to start propagating an ideology rather than just a hunt for power without focus. The 2016 major contestant only switched parties this time and did not bring anything new to entice the people.”