NAN – Prospective voters from riverine communities in Kogi-East Senatorial District on Friday opted for water transportation to enable them reach their towns and villages ahead of Saturday’s Governorship election in the state.
The electorates, who thronged the Ganaja river bank in Lokoja to cross to Shintakun, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the high cost of road transportation, occasioned by fuel scarcity, compelled some of them to seek alternative means of transportation.
Others, however, said that the congestion and gridlock on the Lokoja-Ajaokuta road leading to the eastern part of the state influenced their decision, adding that water transportation was ”cheaper and safer”.
Mr Akpena Mamman, a Lokoja-based publisher, told NAN that he registered at home (Bassa Local Government) and could not afford to miss the opportunity to be part of the process of choosing the next governor of the state.
He said that boat ride across the Niger was more convenient, shorter, safer and cheaper for him, adding that it would afford him the opportunity of getting down quick to take part in the last minute mobilisation for his party.
A businessman, Mallam Saliu Mohammed, said it would take between 40 and 45 minutes to get to Dekina from Shintakun, adding that the boat ride across the river enabled him to tidy things up at his shop in Lokoja before living to perform his civic right in Dekina.
However, some artisans and market women, who spoke with NAN at the river side, said the high cost of road transportation was their major reason for using the water side.
Meanwhile, NAN reports that the area also witnessed heavy presence of security personnel.
“We are here to maintain peace and control the crowds that are crossing the river to the other side for the election. So far, there is no security threat. They have been peaceful. Over 2,000 persons have passed through this place today,” one of the security personnel who preferred anonymity, said.
Chairman of Private Boat Owners Association, Ganaja branch, Mr Siaka Musa, told NAN in an interview that many of his members witnessed an unprecedented business boom, saying: “If not for the election, you can’t see people here like this.
“This is our own way of contributing to the success of the election. People moved through this place well, well, today, even more than December period and we are also making a lot of money. We thank God for this.”