…As 10 parties step down in Ambode’s ward
By Remi Adefulu and Chinelo Obogo
Heavy rainfall coupled with low voter turnout marred the chairmanship and councillorship elections conducted by the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) in the 20 local government areas and 37 local council development areas in the State, yesterday.
The council elections were the first in five years and 12 political parties participated. The parties that participated include: Accord Party (AP), Action Alliance (AA), Alliance for Democracy (AD), All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), United Democratic Party (UDP), United Progressive Party (UPP), Kowa Party (KP), National Action Council (NAC) and Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM).
There was restriction of movement, which was scheduled to begin at 7.00am and end at 3.00pm, but the early rains delayed the polls in most parts of Lagos.
In many polling units, voting materials did not arrive early and even in some units like Ogunlana Drive, Surulere, where voting materials and LASIEC officials were on ground, there were no voters.
LASIEC stated that there would not be use of card readers and this caused uproar among opposition political parties, who alleged that the non-usage of cardreaders was a ploy by the ruling party to rig the elections. The electoral body refuted the allegations, and said that the reason for the decision was to save time, as accreditation and voting also took place simultaneously. It also said the chairmanship results would be declared after collation.
According to LASIEC, there was high voter registration but very low turnout and many attributed it to the lack of awareness on the part of LASIEC. The State Deputy Governor, Dr Idiat Adebule, while casting her vote at Ward A, PU 013 in Iba, lamented the low voter turn out. By the time she voted only 35 people had cast their votes. At ward 005 in Badagary, the presiding officer, Mrs. Isaiah, also lamented the low voter turn out. There was low turnout at many polling units (PU) in Isolo and also PU12 A, 18 and 18A in Lekki Scheme. But the voter turnout in Alimosho was huge. Alimosho has the largest local government in Lagos State.
Most roads were deserted because of the restriction of movement and many travellers coming into Lagos were prevented from coming in by security operatives and were stranded.
Lagos House of Assembly Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, who voted in Agege alleged that he received reports that some members of the Accord Party tried to hijack election materials from LASIEC secretariat.
By 12 pm, election materials were yet to arrive at Obasa’s ward. When the materials eventually arrived, he cast his vote by 2pm.
Senator Oluremi Tinubu cast her vote at Ward E, Unit 034, Bourdillon, Lagos.
There were also reports that in some wards across the state, candidates from opposition parties stepped down for the ruling party citing the ‘performance of the governor’ as their reason.
In the Ward A6, unit 33 in Ogunmodede College, Papa, Epe Local Government, where Governor Akinwunmi Ambode voted, only the APC and the LP contested out of the 12 political parties. Also in Eredo and Ikosi-Ejinrin Local LCDAs, the PDP said that its candidate would not be contesting in the polls.