The House of Assembly elections in Edo on Saturday recorded low voter turnout, in spite of the early distribution of election materials across the state.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondents, who monitored the exercise reports that there was widespread voter apathy in the areas visited.
Officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and election materials were conveyed to the polling units early in the morning.
Some of the residents, who spoke on the low turnout of voters, attributed it to the outcome of the Feb. 23 polls in the area.
Mr Ehi Peters, a political analyst, told NAN that the apathy in most of the polling centres might not be unconnected with the results of the Presidential and National assembly elections.
Peters said: “Our people were disappointed with the outcome of the polls, coupled with the disappointing comments by some chieftains of the major political parties in the area.
“Many of them had boasted that the people’s votes in the field will not decide the final result.
“In such a situation, the people woukd become disillusioned and uninterested in the entire process, like what is happening right now.”
NAN reports that newspaper and food vendors were seen in strategic areas of Benin city, displaying their wares and soliciting patronage.
A food vendor, Mrs Margret Yakubu, said that voter turnout was not encouraging, compared to the last elections.
“I am just scared because I prepared a lot of food for prospective voters, who might be hungry, while waiting to cast their vote.
“But if the low turnout doesn’t change, I’m going to end up incurring a huge loss.
“My prayer is that voters would come out en masse before the end of voting today, if not, today’s sales will not be anything to write home about.
A drink seller, Mrs Agnes Ogedegbe, described the low turnout of voters as a big disappointment “because I had envisaged I would make good profit.”
Frank Okechukwu, who sells egg roll, however, said that some of the voters might have gone to their farms because of the previous day’s rain.
“You know our people are predominantly farmers. They may have gone to their farms to take advantage of yesterday’s rain to cultivate crops,’’ Okechukwu said.
NAN reports that 176 candidates from 23 political parties participated in the House of Assembly election in Edo.
It was learnt that 1.7 million voters collected their Permanent Voter Cards.
The major political parties jostling for the 24 constituency seats, included the All Progressives Party, Peoples Democratic Party, Labour Party, Action Democratic Party and Advance Congress of Democrats.
Others were Alliance for Democracy, Alliance for New Nigeria and All Democratic Peoples Movement, among others.