Low turnout in Lagos

Low turnout in Lagos

There was law turnout in polling units all over Lagos State during the gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections .
Also , recorded were late arrival of officials of the Independent National Electoral commission (INEC) staff and electoral material to polling booths .

At the troubled Okota area of Ago Palace way , where there was fracas and ballot box snatching during the last presidential and National Assembly elections ,there was heavy presence of security agencies.
As at 12. 30 ,Assistant Inspector – General of Police in charge of zone 2 ,comprising Lagos and Ogun and Lagos States , Shehu Lawal ,led senior police officers ; Commissioner of Police , CP Zuibaru Muazu , CP Counter Terrorism , Mr Kenneth Ebirison , Commander Mobile 20 , Yakubu Abubakar and other Squads to Okota where the AIG addressed INEC official .

AIG after being convinced that the area was peaceful, detailed a senior police officer to remain in control of the area and to make sure that the security arrangement put in place was not breached.
An electorate at, Tunde Omoleye, Said: ” There are really low turnout and voters a party in Okota, precisely because of what happened in the Last presidential and National Assembly elections. Secondly, the threat by Yoruba to Ndigbo is a serious issue that brought voter’s a party in Okota. This place is highly dominated by Ndigbo. T here is fears and apprehension that they

may be attacked as they were warned not to come out to vote .

At unit 027, ward C, Julie estate, Oregun, Ikeja, few persons, including a 70 -year -old -man Alhaji Gida Idris were waiting patiently for the arrival of INEC staff.

Idris said he was determined to wait endlessly until the arrival of INEC officials when voting would commence.

“I came out as early as 7am with my wife to cast our votes only to see our polling unit deserted. The policemen posted to secure the area also arrived as early as 7am. I will wait until they come so that I can vote. Though; i am from Bornu State, but I live in Lagos” he said.

But voting started around 9.30 am at unit 011 ward A; Onigbongbo area of Mary Land with low turn out of people.

A party agent, George Sunbo, expressed worries over the lack of police presence at the polling unit, even though she said that the area has been peaceful .
In Suru – Lere , Yaba , Iju , Alagbado etc ,there was the same problems of people not coming out to vote A senior police officer who spoke on the security issues in the state said : ” We learnt lessons from the past elections ,so we put adequate security measures . We arranged with sister agencies ,especially the military to be part of security . You can see the presence of security personnel everywhere ,especially the identified flash points”.

A member of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC), Ikuomola Adeleke, on election duty was injured at Itire during a fight with a conmercial bus driver recruited by INEC to move election materials to polling units. The incident occurred at Itire area of Lagos in the morning.

The driver Salaudeen hit the corp member in the nose during argument .

It was gathered that that the cop members had allegedly barricaded the gate to the Headquarters of Mushin Local Government to protest the non payment of their allowance owes them by INEC.

It was gathered that the corp members were allegedly instigated by some had-hoc staff of INEC who were also being owed their allowances.

On hearing the assault on the cop member, the Area Commander in charge of Area D Command, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Olasoji Akinbayo, swiftly moved in and arrested the driver.

He also took the Cop member to an undisclosed hospital. Where he was treated on the expense of the ACP. while the driver is being detained at the Area Command Headquarters at Mushin.

Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Zubairu Muazu, said that the voter’s apathy witnessed in the state was not police problem.

Muazu said that the primary responsibility of the police was first and foremost to ensure adequate security in the state and to ensure that materials get to different polling units and to give adequate security to people .

He explained that it was the duty of Nigerians to go out and exercise their franchise, but the decision to stay back is the wish of the individuals.

“We have encouraged people to come out and vote by ensuring that there is adequate security. The exercise went on peacefully” he added.

Muazu said that a standby squad was stationed at the Command Headquarters should there be the need for deployment at the area of crisis.

At least 25 suspected social miscreants were arrested for various electoral offences in the metropolis between Friday and Saturday morning.

It was learned that while 10 persons were arrested at Ojo and its environs by policemen on the entourage of the Commissioner of Police, on election duty, CP Kenneth Ebramson.
12 others were arrested around Oshodi over what the police described as “unlawfull gathering.

It was learnt that those arrested at Oshodi wee being detained at Makinde Police Station, while the police said that those nabbed at Ojo were involved in the bloody fracas that occurred at Oto Awori area of the state which claimed the lives of two persons , over 35 vehicles were damaged and many shops looted.

Chairman Lagos State Taskforce, Olayinka Egbeyemi told our correspondent that his team arrested two hoodlums at Agege and another two at Iyana Ipaja.

Meanwhile, the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Zone 2, Lawal Shehu, said he could not give the exact number of arrest made .

Though, he said that the elections went on peacefully, but that there were minor complaints from some parts of the state, noting that security operatives on election duty rose to the occasion.

Our correspondent who went round town to monitor the elections reliably gathered that 12 hoodlums were arrested at Oshodi over what the police in the area described as “unlawfull assembly”.

It was learnt that the suspects were allegedly arrested by policemen from Makinde Division, Oshodi.

Meanwhile, there was tension at Ogudu collation centre over missing nine ballot booklets meant for Ward 4, voting centre in Kosefe area of the State.

It was gathered that the People Democratic Party (PDP) agents were protesting the missing ballot booklets.

A PDP agent, Kunle Aladiyan , said that they discovered the missing booklets in the morning while INEC officials were distributing election materials to each wards

Aladiyan said they were not going to participate in the election without the missing booklets, noting that similar issued occurred in 2015, and they were begged to let go. We told them while they were bringing the materials to count each carton booklets, but the INEC officials refused.

“That wss how we lost 2015 election. We participated in the exercise thinking it would favour us, only for the missing booklets . We don’t want to be fooled again,” he alleged.

A PDP Senatorial candidate in the last National Assembly election, Mrs Sherifat Olushola-Hassan also said that the party will participate on the ground that all ballot papers belonging to ward 4 will not be distributed.

The official Said the booklets of ward 4 will not be use at all to avoid problems.

The Area Commander of Area H Ogudu , Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP Miller Dantawaye, who led other security agencies to provide security for the centre and Kosofe area confirmed that he was there when they discovered the missing booklets

However , eight thousand security personnel have been employed for gubernatorial and State Hause Assembly elections in Lagos .
Commissioner of Police , Mr Muazu revealed that the personnel were picked by the police and other sisters agencies.
The CP said the police and sister agencies have met and identified the lapses in the last presidential election.

” We have met and have identified lapses ,flash points and have analysed all that happened during the presidential election . We have armed policemen near polling station .Whenever there is problems , the armed policemen will respond to distress calls. We are calling everybody to come out and vote as nobody is going to intimidate anybody. I want to warn political thugs and hoodlums to stay away from pooling stations . We are ready for the elections. No ethnic group is under threat .

About the Author
Philomena  Ngozi Christopher-Oji was born to the family of the late Michael and Cecilia Ojeogwu of Ubulu-Uku, in Aniocha South Local Government Area, Delta State. She had her primary and secondary education in Nwanoli and Ezemu Girls College, in Ubulu-Uku, before she proceeded to the Delta State University, Abraka, where she studied English and Literary Studies.

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