23 Jul 2017

Lagos LG polls: We don’t know the aspirants, say voters

- Voters at Ward 9, Polling Unit 006 in Sholafun Street, Agbele, Anibaba, Ikorodu, Lagos State

Some residents of Lagos State have said they do not know the aspirants who contested the chairmanship and councillorship positions in Saturday’s council poll.
In most polling units, electoral materials and officials arrived late, but some residents said the situation did not bother them as they did not even know any of the candidates bidding to represent them in the local government and at the wards.

Although, many of the residents who spoke with Sunday PUNCH did not know the names of parties’ candidates; interestingly, some still expressed their desire to vote.

“We don’t even know the people that want to represent us; none of them came to this area to campaign. Before, they used to come to campaign, but not anymore. Some of them pasted their posters on walls around, but we don’t know anyone of them and have not met them.

“They have turned us to ‘mumu’ (fools) in this country. But I will still exercise my right by voting for any party that comes to my mind, but I won’t vote for the party in power because it is not good for one party to control everything,” said 58-year-old Fatai Mudasiru.

Despite the ban on movement and commercial activities in the state during the period the elections were expected to hold, some bars and canteens in the area did not have the patience to wait that long as they were open for business by 11am.

Some of them were filled with customers, drinking and chatting.

With an empty glass cup carefully positioned on a table before Tunde Alabi, he continued negotiating with a local gin (paraga) seller at Otubu, Agege, as he spoke with Sunday PUNCH.

It was observed that he had just downed a half glass of liquor and was haggling a price cut for a second round.

“I don’t have time for voting; I would rather take my ‘paraga’,” he said, while his friends cheered.

“We don’t know them and besides; the ones that occupy public offices today, what have they done for us? I won’t waste my time voting for anyone. Maybe if they give me money; I will vote for them.” When asked how much would make him consider voting, Alabi said, “N20,000.”

Meanwhile, the election was also full of drama as voters in Ward E polling unit 010, Kasumu Street, Agege, vowed not to allow voting to commence until councillorship ballot papers were provided.

At the unit and another one inside Ahmed Primary School in the same ward, only chairmanship ballot papers were made available by the officials.

The voters in the ward also complained that out of the ward’s 16 polling units, officials and materials were only assigned to 15 while one had no booth.

One person said, “How are people there expected to vote since no official or materials were assigned to the unit?”

A LASIEC official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she did not know why no provision was made for one of the 16 polling units in the ward and also why incomplete ballot papers were provided for some units.

“It is only LASIEC authorities that can answer the questions but what we heard was that some parties don’t have candidates for councillorship position; maybe that is why the ballot papers were not provided,” the official said.

After the place became rowdy, the Divisional Police Officer, Ogba, Vaughan Omololu, arrived to calm the voters and assure them that the matter would be sorted out.

At polling unit 019, Bode, Iju Road, only 10 persons had cast their votes by 11am, though the electoral officials there insisted that they arrived on time.

Some party agents present at the unit said they had been knocking on people’s doors to urge them to come out and vote.

They however said added that all they got in return were curses.

At the Agege Local Government Area secretariat, crisis was averted by the police after some voters and party agents threatened to burn vehicles suspected of being used to rig the election by the ruling All Progressives Congress.

They said their suspicion was aroused after they noticed that the vehicle did not have the proper tag to show that it was on election duty like the others that had left the secretariat.

A collation officer for Accord Party, Mr. Sabith Bolanle, said, “We have been here since last night; then this morning, we saw as vehicles started leaving the secretariat for the seven wards in the area. After, six left, we tried to stop the seventh one when we noticed that there was no tag on it. Each vehicle had a tag; the tag on this one had just been tucked on the dashboard by the driver before he ran away. We must see the end of this matter.”

However, some NSCDC officers arrived on the scene to calm the people down. One of the NSCDC officers suggested that the vehicle should be allowed to return to the secretariat and impounded there while the matter was being investigated.

But the DPO of Pen Cinema Police Station arrived and ordered a team of policemen to escort the bus to Ward G, saying that was where the ballot papers were genuinely meant for.

Credit: PUNCH

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