Yiaga Africa, Friday, predicted that voter apathy may be experienced during the election to be conducted by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and this comes less than 24 hours to the election.
Speaking with journalists during a sensitization and awareness creation exercise about the elections in one of the markets in Kuje, headquarters of Kuje Area Council, the Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, and a Board Member of Yiaga Africa, Ezenwa Nwagwu, said the 2,229 polling units of the 62 wards of the FCT may experience low-voter turnout.
According to Itodo and Nwagwu, lack of awareness and voter education campaigns are part of the reasons the FCT council polls may experience few voters coming out to exercise their franchise come Saturday.
They said, “Due to little or no campaigning by political parties participating in the election, low voter mobilization and publicity, Yiaga Africa fears the possibility of low voter turnout on Saturday, February 12 for the LGA polls.
“More worrisome is the almost lack of awareness of the LGA election in the FCT. Observation also revealed the lack of impact from Local Governing Councils and issues around multiple taxations has also contributed to the disinterest amongst citizens.
“The LGA election which is considered closest to the people has not received the intensive grassroots campaign for citizens’ participation in the process. Political parties are largely culpable in poor voter mobilization ahead of the elections.”
However, Yiaga Africa, pointed poor inclusion of women in Area Councils in the democratic process in terms of decision making and governance, and added that expectations are high regarding inclusion of women and Persons Living With Disabilities, PLWD, in the electoral process.
“Women representation is abysmally low, with female candidacy at 8.87%. Four political parties; Action Alliance (AA), All Progressives Congress (APC), Labour Party (LP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have no female candidates vying for seats in the 2022 FCT Area Council Elections.
“In summary, there are only 3 female chairmanship candidates and 8 vice-chairmanship candidates while there are 39 female councillorship candidates. This indicates the likelihood of poor women representation in the Area Council Government”, they said.
On provisions made by INEC for PLWDs during the elections, they said, “INEC has committed to providing Braille ballot and magnifying glasses for the visually impaired and albinos respectively.