Former governors of Lagos and Ogun states shunned Saturday’s elections into the 20 local governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) in Lagos State, as well as the 20 councils in Ogun.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Babatunde Raji Fashola and Akinwunmi Ambode did not participate in the exercise in Lagos. It was the same in Ogun State, where former governors – Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Senator Ibikunle Amosun also didn’t vote.
The election was characterised by voter apathy and malfunctioning smart card readers.
Daily Trust observed low turnout of voters in many polling units visited in the two states.
Our correspondents visited polling units in Ojo, Amuwo-Odofin, Otto-Awori, Badagry, Alimosho, Epe, Mushin and Odi-Olowo local government councils in Lagos.
In Ogun State, Daily Trust visited polling units in Abeokuta, Odeda, Ikenne, Yewa North, among others.
The poll was largely peaceful as there was no major record of violence or security breach.
However, the late arrival of sensitive and non-sensitive materials by officials of the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) affected the process in some polling units.
Our correspondents covering the exercise across the state report that most card readers deployed to the polling units did not function, a situation that created apprehension among voters, security personnel and election officials. In most cases, the officials resorted to manual accreditation of voters.
Some residents attributed the low turnout of voters to the imposition of candidates and the belief that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) would win almost, if not all the positions in the two states.
They claimed that the election had been won and lost, adding that their votes were never considered in previous elections.
Some residents of Jakande Estate, Oke-Afa ward, said their apathy toward voting was borne out of their disappointment with some elected officeholders in the area.
They said some political officeholders had failed to fulfill their campaign promises, hence their decision to abstain from voting on yesterday.
Mr Tunde Adediji said he just came out to observe, not to vote, stressing that the roads in the area were bad and not attended to by the council.
Mr Yusuf Amuda also said Nigerian electorates were now more conscious of what is happening in the country.
According to him, many politicians in the area promised everything during the campaign but failed to deliver and disappeared until the next election.
Also speaking, Miss Ronke Adegbenro lamented that what was meant for everybody was usually shared among few, and only card-carrying members of parties benefit from such gestures.
She said many of the politicians in the area became inaccessible once elected into office.
Sanwo-Olu, Gbajabiamila, Tinubu bemoan poor turnout
The Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Saturday appealed to residents of the state to come out en masse and vote in the local government election.
The governor and his wife, Ibijoke, arrived at polling unit 019, ward 9, Femi Okunnu/Lateef Jakande Avenue in Eti-Osa Local Government Area at 11:03 am and cast their votes at 11:08 am.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, also decried the low turnout of voters.
Gbajabiamila made the observation after casting his vote at his polling unit, located at Elizabeth Fowler Primary School, ward 014 on Mercy Eneli Street, Surulere.
He also expressed disappointment over the failure of card readers in some units.
Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who also bemoaned the low turnout, said the active participation of the electorate in the exercise would enhance their involvement in governance.
Mrs Tinubu made the call after casting her vote at ward E polling unit 018, Eti-Osa Local Government Area.
A member of the Lagos House of Assembly (Eti-Osa Constituency II), Mr Gbolahan Yishawu, called for massive public sensitisation on the need for Nigerians to exercise their voting rights during elections.
According to him, more enlightenment would enable the electorate to understand the essence of elections and the need to vote.
The chairman, Agboyi-Ketu Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Mr Dele Oshinowo, who is seeking re-election on the platform of the APC, scored LASIEC highly on the conduct of Saturday’s council poll.
On smart card readers, the chairman said much improvement could still be brought into the deployment and functionality of the device.
The vice national president of the Joint Action for Good Governance, Mr Abdulwaheed Odunuga, who applauded the peaceful conduct of voters, urged the electoral umpire to do more on sensitisation of voters to stem voter apathy.
Yiaga Africa, a foremost election monitoring group, had earlier predicted possible low turnout in the election during its pre-election briefing.
In its situation report on Saturday, Yiaga Africa said only two parties – APC and PDP – had their agents at most of the polling units, even as it observed absence of security personnel at some polling units.
Yiaga Africa, however, called on all political parties and candidates, LASIEC and security agencies to play their parts in ensuring a peaceful and credible election.
It also asked voters and the people of Lagos State to remain patient and peaceful as the voting process concludes and collation process commences.
Late arrival of materials in Ogun
Daily Trust on Sunday observed that officers of the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC) arrived at some of the polling units late, thereby delaying commencement of election in many areas.
In Abeokuta, the state capital, our correspondent who monitored the election observed that there was late arrival of election materials amid low turnout of voters.
However, some parts of the Abeokuta metropolis and Odeda Local Government recorded impressive turnout.
When our correspondent visited Oba ward 7, PU 1 at 1pm, less than five voters were seen on the queue, and a peep into the ballot boxes showed scanty thumb- printed ballot papers.
The Chief of Staff to the Ogun State Governor, Shuaib Salis, attributed the initial delays to logistics, but believed the turnout was encouraging.
At Iperu, the hometown of Governor Dapo Abiodun in Ikenne Local government Area, residents violated the restriction of movement order of the state government as they went about their normal businesses.
At the Abeokuta-Sagamu expressway, a joint security team comprising military officers, police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Amotekun corps had a difficult time in enforcing the restriction of movement order of the government as passengers and motorists insisted on travelling into the state.
At 10:30 am when our correspondent arrived at Ita-Osanyin, ward 3, unit 2 where the governor later cast his vote, only 98 voters out of the 826 registered had voted.
In Ogun West senatorial district, the situation was the same in Yewa North Local Government Area as residents preferred to engage in other activities instead of casting their votes.
Speaking with newsmen, an observer from the Civil Society Organisation (CSO), Dr Abdullahi Muhammad Jabi, attributed the low voters’ turnout to political apathy.
The commissioner of police in the state, Edward Ajogun, who led other heads of security agencies in the state to monitor the election in Abeokuta, expressed satisfaction with the security of the exercise.
Ajogun told newsmen that from the reports across the state, there was no record of violence or security breach during the election.
Abiodun promises LG autonomy
Governor Abiodun cast his vote at the Ita-Osanyin, ward 3, unit 2 at Iperu.
Speaking with newsmen, he assured that his administration would continue to respect the autonomy of the local government and give them the necessary support to carry out their constitutional responsibilities as the third tier of government.
Abiodun said his administration would ensure that local government chairmen are given the opportunity to administer their councils as enshrined in the constitution when they assume office.
APC coasting to victory
Candidates of the APC are expected to win most of the seats in the election.
As at the time of filing this report, collation of results had started, with candidates of the ruling party dominating the exercise.
Daily Trust on Sunday observed that collation of results had started at the ward levels in Lagos, where winners of the councillorship election would be returned.
The LASIEC had earlier announced that results of Saturday’s election in the state would be declared at the ward and local government levels.
The chairman of the LASIEC, Justice Ayotunde Phillips (retd), disclosed this while briefing newsmen after touring some polling units in Lagos Mainland Local Government Area and Yaba Local Council Development Area (LCDA).
From Abiodun Alade, Eugene Agha, Abdullateef Aliyu & Christiana T. Alabi, Lagos and Peter Moses, Abeokuta