Reports from Nsikak Nseven, Ebuka Onveji and News Agency of Nigeria.
The supplementary elections organized in five out of the thirty states of the federation on 23rd March were marred by violence in two of the states – Kano and Benue.
As at the time of filling this report there was no case of reported violence in the three other states of Plateau, Bauchi and Sokoto.
In Kano, the News Agency of Nigeria reports that some journalists covering the Supplementary Governorship election in the State escaped lynching by some suspected thugs at Suntulma Primary School in Gama ward of Nasarawa Local Government Area of the state.
NAN reports that the journalists who were in the area to monitor the poll, were chased out of the place by the hoodlums.
The report adds that trouble began when some of the newsmen tried to interview some voters who were denied access into the classrooms where some of the polling units were stationed.
While trying to flee the troubled area, some of the journalists fell on ground and one of them (Name withheld), had to take refuge in a nearby Mosque in order to save his life.
NAN also reports that some of the reporters had their clothes torn by the thugs.
Speaking to newsmen, some voters alleged that they were not allowed to exercise their franchise as they were chased out of the area.
One of them, Comrade Aminu Tijjani, said he went to the primary school to cast his vote at his polling unit but had to return to escape the hoodlums’ attack.
“The situation is very bad and this is not how to conduct an election where people or voters are denied the opportunity to vote,” Tijjani said.
Another voter, Sani Abdullahi, said he came to vote as early as 8 a.m. but was scared away by the suspected thugs numbering about 10.
Reacting to the acts of violence, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso called for fresh conduct of the supplementary election in Kano state. The former governor said the re-run election was characterized by excessive violence and visible malpractices.
The PDP leader accused DIG Anthony Michael Obizi of providing protection for thugs suspected to be loyalists of APC. The senator representing Kano Central, alleged that the rerun was marred by politicization of the security operatives.
Speaking with newsmen in a reaction to the violence that characterized the electoral exercise in the state, the former Kano governor said:
“It is very sad that elections could not hold today because, by yesterday evening, all the polling units in the rerun areas were overtaken by thugs. Very early morning today elections were concluded in many polling centres.
“And even more disturbing is the role of the police under the leadership of DIG Anthony Obizie who actually backed up thugs under the leadership of the Kano state government. It is a very sad day for all of us and a very sad day for democracy.
“There are very few places where elections took place especially here in the city but there was no election in the overwhelming places because they were overtaken by thugs. People were going around with ballot papers and result sheets, writing what they wanted and submitted them to the INEC officials.
“Our prayer is that this election should be cancelled and re-scheduled so that we can have better, free and fair elections in Kano. I don’t think by all standards, the elections here in Kano can hold water. It is unacceptable and I don’t think INEC can go ahead to count because there is nothing to count.”
In Benue, elections were suspended in Azendeshi ward by the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Nentawe Yilwatda.
The elections were cancelled in the ward where over 13,000 voters were to vote in the supplementary elections in the state because of the attack on some vehicles transporting election materials and destruction of the materials by suspected thugs.
The attack, which was carried out by yet to be identified persons along Zaki Biam Chito road in Ukum Local Government Area left some of the escorts injured, including INEC officials and party agents.
The materials were bound for Azendeshi ward before it was intercepted by the thugs who later set them ablaze.
The REC also confirmed the burning of the election materials and attack on officials.
Also, there were reports that suspected political thugs disrupted elections at Jato-Aka ,Tse Akough PU 012, Yaav ward, Kwande LGA of the State.
Voters fled the polling unit following the incident.
The election was to be held in 204 polling units in 22 local governments which have 121,299 vote
It was however a different story in Bauchi where voters chased away politicians who were trying to disrupt the voting process at Kagadama polling unit in Dass Local Government Area of the state.
They resisted any attempt by the politicians to come near the polling unit as soon as they sighted them.
The voters also insisted that they would remain on the queue despite the fracas, adding that they were determined to vote for the candidates of their choice