Controversies were in-abound as several complaints trailed the various National Assembly bye-elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Saturday in Kogi and Bauchi States.
Reports of ballot snatching, violence, vote-buying as well as missing names on the voters’ register were quite recurrent and dominated the elections, which have become crucial in the wake of the recent political configuration of the country’s parliament.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, two persons suspected to have made attempts to snatch the ballot box for the vacant Lokoja /Kogi seat in House of Representatives election were confirmed dead by the Kogi State Police Command.
William Aya, the command’s Public relations Officer, said the two persons were killed by a mob, who were enraged by their actions to disrupt the polls.
He noted that the first man who was killed at the polling unit located by Abuja Electricity Distribution Company’s office in Lokoja was unidentified, while the other, murdered at Ugwan Pawa polling unit, in front of Maigari palace, was identified as Yadau Umoru.
Also in the same constituency election, violence erupted at the polling unit at Paparanda Square after thugs stormed the venue, snatched election materials and beat people up.
Similarly, the situation also repeated itself at polling units at Mary Primary School, Karaworo, Adnakolo and Crowther Secondary School, where thugs also disrupted voting.
Aside vote snatching and violence, there were also incidents of vote buying at polling units, NAN reports.
At St. Peter’s Primary School, Felele, voters were seen receiving N2, 000 each after being certified to have voted for particular candidates.
In Bauchi, five persons were arrested by officers of the State Police Command for different electoral offences during the Bauchi South senatorial district bye-election.
Kamal Datti, the Public Relations Officer of the command, told NAN that the suspects were arrested in different parts of the district and were already investigating their actions.
“However, we have made some arrests; we have arrested five people in connection with electoral offences.
“The suspect are with us and we are investigating; two of them were arrested in a polling unit behind police headquarters and three others were arrested in different parts of the state,” he said.
Apart from electoral violence, there were also complaints by voters about their names missing on the voter’s register in the bye-election in Bauchi.
Some voters who claimed to have been registered at Sabongari polling unit of Dot ward in Dass Local Government Area of the state protested after they discovered their names were not on the register.
The INEC ad-hoc staff at the polling centre could not provide any substantial reason to the aggrieved voters as to why their names were missing and implored them to check other polling units.
This led to lots of grumbling and verbal shouts at the INEC staff by the voters.
NAN reports that it took the intervention of Yahuza Garkuwa, the Public Relations Officer of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, who was at the scene to restore calm.