PROF. Abubakar Suleiman, the Director-General, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), has decried the voters’ apathy that characterised the Saturday’s Governorship and House of Assembly election in Kwara.
Suleiman made the assertions in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ilorin, after monitoring the election.
The director-general said that he was not impressed with the development.
Suleiman said: “There is voters’ apathy. I am not impressed. If democracy is indeed about the mass majority of people, what we are seeing today is not encouraging.
“With the poor turnout of voters, I don’t see any improvement over that of last election.
“Ordinarily, today’s election should be more participatory and the turnout should have been more impressive, because the election is the state affair and it is the closest to people.
“The closest is the local government and where there is no local government election, governorship and state assembly election should be the closest on comparative basis to what obtained during the last election.”
Suleiman, also former Minister, National Planning, said he was expecting people to come out and determine who govern them at the state level and law makers at the state level.
He said that the poor turnout was unimpressive, adding that with the situation, the tendency for power to manipulate was very high.
“If we have this kind of turn out here, at this point, you can imagine what will happen at the collation centre, where there are no people to observe and carry out their responsibility.
“Then, this will give room for a lot of manipulations here and there,“ he said.
The director-general queried attitude of INEC, saying they were doing much of paper work than physical work, adding that it was not encouraging and stimulating enough.
“They promised on several occasions that their members of staff and officers will get to their various polling units in good time; but again, the same thing happened as during the last election.
“We expected progression, improvement and development in order to move forward. But unfortunately, we are moving backward in our democracy status.
“At our level, as an agency under National Assembly, we expect people that are indeed the choice of the people as political office holders and not those that are reflections of the minority wishes, that is not democracy.
“If anything happens, thereafter, in terms of bad governance, you don’t blame anybody,” he said. (NAN)