By Anayo Onukwugha, Port Harcourt
There was voter apathy in yesterday’s local government election in Rivers State as majority of the residents stayed away from the polls which will usher in new chairmen and councilors in the 23 local government areas of the state.
Voters who spoke with LEADERSHIP Sunday at Ogu and Boko communities in Ogu/Bolo local government area as well as in Akpabu, Saakpenwa and Ubie communities in Emojis, Tai and Ogba/Egbema/ Ndoni local government areas decried late arrival of materials in their polling units.
Other voters said they decided to go back home after waiting endlessly for electoral materials at polling units, even as they were earlier told that voting would start from 8:00am.
Seventeen political parties participated in the election with the ruling party in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), fielding the highest number of candidates.
Leaders of the 17 political parties had last Monday signed a peace accord in the presence of security agencies.
The logo and name of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was however not on the ballot box as its leadership in the state officially wrote to RSIEC declining participation.
Our correspondent observed that most of the polling units were empty with only the electoral officers and security personnel, as most residents were seen seated outside their houses while youths of voting age played football on major roads.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP Sunday, the chairman, Rivers State House of Assembly Committee on Commissions and Agencies, Hon. Nathaniel Uwaji, advised the State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) to improve in subsequent elections.
He said: “My advice still goes that in the area of timing, they should start early enough in order to beat off the challenge of materials coming late to polling centres.
“Distribution of materials should have started by 6:00am so that on or before 7:00 am, materials would have been at the polling units.”