Bauchi Bye-election: Dogara not allowed to vote

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, was disallowed from voting after arriving late at the polling station for Saturday’s Bauchi senatorial bye election.

Mr Dogara was at his country home, Gwarangah, in Bogoro local government area of Bauchi state days before the bye-election for Bauchi-South senatorial district.

Having coordinated support for his preferred candidate, Mr Dogara failed to turn up at the polling unit, which is near his house.

Voting at the polling unit closed at 2.20 p.m. amidst a rancorous protests by some irate youth who accused INEC officials of not allowing them cast their vote.

The youth who suddenly showed up at Gwaranga prima school, where the polling unit was located and almost lynched some of the polling officials.

Some of the youth said they were denied their voting right on grounds that they were at the polling unit with temporary voters card.

Others insisted on voting even after the closure of accreditation, saying they had to go to their farms first before coming to the polling centre.

Others said the polling officials must share the remaining ballot papers among the party agents to cast their votes in favour of their respective parties as they did not trust the officials going away with unused ballot papers.

The polling officials, who were mostly NYSC Corp members, had no serious security protection except two unarmed prison officials who were equally helpless.

It was in the midst of this tense situation that Mr Dogara eventually left his house to the polling centre.

His arrival further infuriated the youth who began to protest loudly that they won’t accept the officials giving the speaker special treatment after they were denied the chance to cast their votes on grounds that they did not show up early enough.

The speaker was seen having a chat with officials who explained to him that they had long closed accreditation and transmitted the result electronically to the INEC headquarters.

Mr Dogara later pleaded with the crowd to be calm.

He explained even himself could not vote. It took some time to calm frayed nerves.

Journalists were almost violently lynched for daring to take photographs of the rancorous situation.

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