The State House of Assembly election in Edo State on Saturday, March 18, has been marked largely by poor voter turnout.
Unlike the February 25, 2023 presidential and National Assembly elections which witnessed large voter turnout and enthusiasm, the State Assembly poll saw a far lower number of voters coming out to exercise their franchise.
This is notwithstanding the early arrival of officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the ample presence of security agencies.
The Nigerian Observer’s visits to some polling stations in Benin metropolis showed scanty turnout.
At unit 7 and 8, Ward 1, Ezoti Primary School and unit 9, St.Pauls’ Primary School Ward 1, all in Oredo LGA, INEC officials arrived as early as 7.35am. Security officials and party agents were also present. Accreditation began at 8.30am. However, only a few voters were seen at the unit.
At Unit 42 Ward 4 and Unit 43 along Mission Road, where electoral incidents occasioned by snatching of ballot boxes had occurred during the Presidential and National Assembly polls, there were no signs of trouble as at time of reporting.
Polling Officials at the respective units who spoke with our correspondents confirmed that no incident had occurred.
INEC officials were seen fully on ground with sensitive materials awaiting voters who were yet to arrive at the polling units as at 9:24am.
Turnout at unit 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28 ward 4, Emokpae Primary School, along Mission Road was also low.
At unit 54, ward 1 polling booth, Felicity junction, Concord Road, voting commenced at 8:30am, but the turnout of voters was a far cry from what was experienced two weeks ago in the Presidential election.