The governorship candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Umar Mohammed Bago and his Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, counterpart Isah Liman Kantigi have differed in their views of the conduct of the governorship and state House of Assembly elections in Niger State.
While Bago described the election as peaceful, transparent, free and fair, Kantigi said there are lapses that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, need to correct to enhance its credibility.
Bago who cast his vote at Polling Unit 011 in Tswashagi Raba, Bida Local Government Area at 10:10 am said INEC had corrected the lapses witnessed in the February 25 election.
“The process of accreditation was very efficient and smooth; I am impressed with the general conduct of the election due to the efficiency of the newly introduced BVAS machine,” he said.
He commended his constituents for being orderly during the exercise, noting the need for them to tolerate one another, irrespective of ethnic, religious and political affiliations to sustain existing peace during and after the elections.
The APC governorship candidate also commended INEC and its officials for the early arrival of electoral materials, as well as the security agents for maintaining law and order, and urged them to continue to be civil in their approach.
Kantigi, the PDP governorship candidate, who spoke to journalists after casting his vote at 005 Kantigi Polling Unit in Edati LGA, expressed concerns over the inability of INEC to properly name each of the boxes for elections in order not to confuse the electorate.
According to him:”The process is nice but I am not happy about INEC having [the] same design for the ballot boxes. By now, the country should have designed ballot boxes for various elections so that you don’t confuse the electorate. It is disappointing to have one type of ballot box marked with paper to differentiate the political positions.”
He also advised INEC to adhere strictly to the electronic transmission of election results from the polling units to the commission’s server in order to give credit to the process.
However, Kantigi urged the electorate to shun electoral malpractices such as ballot box snatching and other forms of election rigging which could derail democracy.