IDPs defy explosion scare to vote en mass in Borno as elderly voter in Enugu arrive polling unit with mattress
London, Feb. 23, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) defied the early Saturday morning explosion scare in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital and came out en mass to cast their votes in the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The News Agency of Nigeria of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there was a large turnout of voters at the Teachers Village’s IDPs in Maiduguri, in spite of the early morning explosion that rocked the city.
NAN reports that the voters joined queues at various polling units in the camp as early as 8 a.m., while voting commenced at about 9:30a.m.
The IDPs’ voters were from Kukawa, Kruss Kawwa, Baga, and Doron Baga communities of Kukawa Local Government Area of Borno.
Some of the voters, who spoke with NAN in separate interviews, said that they came out with satisfaction and joy to vote for candidates of their choice.
Usman Kachalla, a displaced person from Baga, said he came out to join the queue at 7 a.m.
Kachallah said that the electoral officers and materials arrived on time for the elections.
Yagana Bala, another voter, said that the explosion caused panic among the displaced people, stressing that the incident was not enough to dampen their enthusiasm to vote.
Alhaji Dan-Baga, also an IDP, appealed to the government to strengthen security at the camp to prevent unsuspected attack by Boko Haram insurgents.
“We need maximum security in the camp to enable us cast our votes peacefully,” he said.
NAN reports that series of explosions were heard in the Borno capital of Maiduguri on Saturday, just hours before the opening of polls in presidential and National Assembly.
Explosion occurred at Teachers Village Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camp, Bolori and Pompomari areas of Maiduguri, with no casualties recorded.
However, there was no immediate indication of the cause but the city has been repeatedly attacked by Boko Haram Islamists.
Meanwhile, in some polling stations in Jos, the Plateau state capital and Enugu in Enugu state NAN reports that some of the voters came to the polling units with their chairs, while others brought their food.
Drama ensued at the Estate Primary School in Abakpa Nike in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State when an elderly woman came to the polling unit with sleeping materials.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent who is monitoring the Presidential and National Assembly elections in Enugu on Saturday reports that the woman, Mrs Nkem Unobuagha came to the unit with a mattress, pillow and a giant water flask.
Unobuagha told NAN that she came to the unit as early as 7 a.m. but as at 10 a.m., there was no electoral officer so she went to bring her sleeping materials.
“I am disappointed that INEC failed to bring materials early as announced but I will remain here till I cast my vote.
“I am not discouraged. Even if it is midnight, I will wait till I cast my vote,’’ she said.
Some other elderly voters also arrived at the unit with chairs while some were aided.
A septuagenarian, Chief Mike Okolo at St.Theresa Primary School also in Abakpa Nike expressed dismay at non arrival of election officials as at 11 a.m.
Okolo, who came with a chair, said he would cast his vote no matter the time.
It is a similar situation at the Federal Government College ward 11 and the Okpara Square in Independence Layout as well as at Obiagu Road and St. Luke Wards in New Layout as some aged ones came with chairs.
When contacted, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Dr Emeka Ononamadu confirmed that there were some hitches especially as regards transportation adding that they were being addressed.