By Teslim Olawore
The terrorist sect, Boko Haram, rained gunfire and explosives on parts of Borno and Yobe states both in north eastern part of Nigeria on saturday moments before polls opened for the presidential and national assembly elections. But their actions were not enough to stop hundreds of thousands of voters in the two states to exercise their franchise.
The Borno State police command confirmed that the sect “attempted to infiltrate.” It said the attempt failed as there were no casualties.
However, the security threat in neighbouring Yobe, prevented Governor Ibrahim Gaidam from travelling to his home town in Yunusari Local Government Areas to cast his vote.
Residents of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital said they heard at least 13 blasts at about 6:00 am.
The police said in a statement that the terrorists launched artillery fire apparently to disrupt the elections. Some missiles, it said, “strayed into vulnerable locations” but there were no casualties and the extremists retreated.
The Director General, Media Affairs in the Yobe Governor’s office, Mr Abdullahi Bego, said the attack on Yobe State had been brought under control and voting was going on.
The DG said: “The security agencies would naturally seek to reinforce and increase security around the governor for him to travel to cast his vote.
“The increased security around the governor will mean that vital security resources that are needed elsewhere in the state would have to be diverted and allocated to the governor,” the governor’s spokesperson said.
It was reported by newsmen that the governor, in consultation with security agencies decided that it was more prudent to make the sacrifice.
“It is better and more useful for the security agents, including soldiers, police, civil defence, DSS, to focus their attention on providing security for the election than devoting large security contingent for the governor to cast his vote,” Bego said.
Gaidam, who is also a senatorial candidate in the Presidential and National Assembly election, commended security agencies for their effort to ensure a peaceful and successful election across the State.
Meanwhile, Alhaji MaiMala Buni, the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate in Yobe, said adequate preparations by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies ensured the success of the elections.
He made the observation after casting his vote on Saturday in Damaturu. He said that the timely commencement of the elections, adequate provision of election materials and security to the electorate made the election successful.
“The massive turn out of voters was encouraged by the security apparatus put in place and the commitment to the preparations made by INEC.
“The turnout is very impressive and the momentum should be maintained,” he said.