REC’s lone female designate finally gets appointment letter
By Hamza Idris
At last, Dr. Asma’u Sani Maikudi, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) designate from Katsina State finally got her appointment letter last night.
Daily Trust gathered from reliable sources that Dr. Maikudi was asked to report at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), this morning and was subsequently given her letter of appointment.
Sources at INEC headquarters in Abuja said she would be sworn-in this afternoon alongside her colleagues cleared by the Senate.
Dr. Maikudi’s letter was reportedly hijacked by a “cabal at the Presidency,” who allegedly felt she should not represent Katsina State at INEC.
The development had elicited backlash from various quarters, including CSOs and women groups.
She is the only female among the 27 people nominated by President Muhammadu, in March.
Speaking with the Daily Trust, Dr. Maikudi confirmed the receipt of her appointment letter today.
“I received a call last night and when I went to the SGF office, I was given my letter of appointment. We would be sworn-in later today, Insha Allah,” she said.
Dr. Maikudi’s travails came to the fore soon after she passed all stages for the appointment, including clearance from the DSS, the Code of Conduct Bureau and confirmation by the Senate on July 20.
It was gathered that though President Buhari pencilled her for the post based on merit, some forces at the Presidency were allegedly not comfortable with her representing Katsina State.
The Senate had divided the 27 nominees into two batches for screening and confirmed the first 15 on June 1.
On July 20, the Senate confirmed eight of the remaining 12 nominees, including Dr. Maikudi and deferred the nomination of four others.
All her seven colleagues got their letters thereafter from the SGF office after approval from the Presidency. They included Mr Sam Olumekun (Ondo), Prof. Riskuwa Shehu (Sokoto), Kassim Gana Gaidam (Yobe), Jibrin Zarewa (Kano), Prof. Samuel Egwu (Kogi), Mr. Mike Igini (Delta) and Abdulganiyu Raji (Oyo).
Those whose confirmation was deferred included nominees from Niger, Kebbi, Zamfara and Lagos states over some contentious issues.
Pendulum By Dele Momodu; email@example.com Fellow Nigerians, unbeknown to many of our people, the battle for who becomes our next President has already started in earnest. Never mind the fact that the incumbent President is still firmly in power even if he’s spent more time outside than inside in recent times. Despite his absence, President Muhammadu Buhari continues to exert almost total control on the affairs of state through regular phone chats with the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who is deeply loyal and committed to their joint cause, and emissaries who criss-cross the two continents to transmit messages to him and relevant officials. Nonetheless, you can’t blame the gladiators for shaping up this early for the big contest that is looming. It is big because it is unlikely that the current incumbent President will run again because of the fragile state of his health. Like joke, like joke, the Buhari/Osinbajo government is in its third year. By this time next year, the general elections would just be about six months away. That’s just too close for comfort. The Presidential race is always the biggest deal in most countries, Nigeria in particular. The reason is simple. The President of Nigeria is probably the most powerful black President in the world. This is why you find so many perpetual contestants who never get tired of seeking power. Let me just go straight to the meat of my message without wasting your precious time on any long preamble. Some aspirants have actually started making subterranean moves, here and there, to prepare the grounds for their eventual launch. The most obvious ones include former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano. The boldest and most vocal visible aspirant is the current Governor of Ekiti State, Peter Fayose who has even announced a date for the official declaration of his bid for the Presidency. Fayose seems to have mastered the art and science of politics. He has warned that no one should underrate him. I won’t because nothing is impossible in our clime. Anyway. Let’s move on. The main cause of the early moves is the general belief in political circles that President Buhari is not likely to contest in 2019. His poor health has virtually eliminated him from the race no matter how much and how well he recovers from his present ailment. I think so too. Baba himself had declared in one of his rare interviews that he’s never been this sick in his life. Only the cruellest human being would advise President Buhari to continue to subject himself to the rigours of the Presidential office when he returns. To add the vagaries of rough and tumble of a Presidential race to his recuperation would be inhuman indeed. God has been very kind to him and there is nothing more to prove or to achieve. Others must carry on the fight as his able Vice President, now Acting President has been doing. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had shown interest in becoming Nigeria’s President since 1993 when he contested the Presidential primaries of the then Social Democratic Party alongside Chief Moshood Abiola and Baba Ghana Kingibe. He was persuaded to withdraw from the contest and throw his weight behind Chief Abiola on the basis of his relative youth amongst other things. Age, it was said, was on his side, and he had many years to seek the Presidency. Since then, he has never stopped dreaming and aspiring. Unfortunately, he has always just fallen short! He had made his next move in 2003, after he served as Vice President to President Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999. The “abortive coup” (as it was described), to force Obasanjo out and bring Atiku in, by the all-powerful Governors of the time failed spectacularly. The cold war between Atiku and his boss exploded into full view and became a smouldering inferno. Atiku instantly became a marked man. He himself would be forced out of the party he helped to found and had to join others to form another party. But before too long Atiku was compelled by circumstances to scamper back to PDP. Not many felt that was a smart move. He was viewed as being too desperate and unprincipled. This flip-flop has been his major albatross. And he was not yet done! Atiku again jumped ship from the floundering PDP when some five Governors defected and joined the fulcrum of APC. There are already indications that he may be compelled to abandon ship again but where to, we don’t know. Some say that he is grooming PDM for this purpose and has already caused a crisis in his former movement. There is no doubt that Atiku would make a good leader. He is a seasoned politician who is known to have the ability to unite Nigerians because of his extensive networks across the nation. He also has the penchant for recruiting the best brains to work with. If he becomes the President, he would be bringing in his wealth of experience in public service and private business that is almost second to none. But there are major setbacks against him. One is how to find the detergent to cleanse or unglue himself from the sticky mud his former boss President Obasanjo had generously splashed on him. He’s largely portrayed as a very corrupt and corruptible leader who may lead Nigerians into temptation and perdition with his acolytes. Whether this is a fair assessment or wicked blackmail is his business to deal with but it won’t be so easy to wish or wash away. Atiku will find it difficult to clinch the APC ticket. There are obvious signs that he has already positioned some of his close associates in PDP, in case of emergency but he may be scammed at the end of the day if he takes the risk of pulling out of his present party. He needs to worry about his age. He has already crossed 70 and it is doubtful if most Nigerians want to be saddled with another old man who may collapse under the brutal weight of presidential stress and pressure. He would require more of a clean bill of health to persuade young Nigerians that he’s not carrying some health liabilities like others in the past. In summary, we have a reasonable bridge-builder and veteran administrator who may be too old and too late in seeking political office. Next is the former Governor of Kano State, Senator Mohammed Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a man with very vast political and administrative pedigree. He has gone through the whole gamut of governance at both executive and legislative levels. His performance as Governor of the massive state of Kano is an eloquent testimony to the fact that he may be the one to ignite the infrastructural revolution in Nigeria. He cuts the image of a frugal Aminu Kano with his simple mien. His grassroots non-governmental movement known as Kwankwasiyya Pillars of the Nation is well mobilised and may give him an edge over most aspirants. He also has in his favour the fact that Kano State has the highest number of registered voters and may be able to count on garnering a significant number of these. He is also expected to draw strength from his former colleagues in the Governors’ Forum across the nation but no one is sure how relevant they still are. Kwankwaso is 60 years old and falls the under the age of 65 that many want as the upper limit for contestants. On the negative side, he is not likely to have the formidable war chest of an Atiku Abubakar though this did not stop him from beating Atiku to third place in their last APC Primaries. Say what you will, the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, must be factored into the equation by all means. The reason is that he seems to enjoy a special rapport with his ailing boss who may prefer to hand over fully to someone he knows well than risk certainty for uncertainty. Osinbajo has been a very loyal and dependable ally, the sort that are not common in this clime. This is no surprise because his vocation as a lawyer, his service as a teacher and his calling as a Pastor makes him imbued with integrity and dignity. Osinbajo has also succeeded in bringing Nigerians together and calming frayed nerves. His handling of the economy, security and national awareness is quite commendable and many Nigeria’s applaud his brilliance and performance in steering the affairs of state to its present comfortable position. His only worry would come from ethnic jingoists who do not care about merit but prefer only members of their tribe no matter how useless or incompetent they may be. Osinbajo is likely to be vehemently opposed by such powerful forces who think only about themselves, although it seems to me that the people of the North are not with them on this occasion. There is no question that Osinbajo has restored hope and promise to Nigeria and should ordinarily be allowed to stabilise the polity and lead us out of the doldrums. The fact that he lacks his own political platforms may be a great disadvantage because he would need to lean on his political godfather and kingmaker, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who seems tired of fixing others into positions of power without being the ultimate King of Kings himself. However, Asiwaju is canny and wise and would prefer to be in the hallowed corridors of power with his protégé in charge than be outside it particularly given that he is himself ageing and would be over a couple of years over 65 by the time of the next elections. There has always been speculation that the Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, is interested in being President. He is eminently qualified to do so. The way he has managed the Senate and worked assiduously on churning out unprecedented number of very efficacious bills is a pointer to his effectiveness as a modern and cosmopolitan leader who understands what the people want and how to give it to them. His biggest migraine apart from allegations of corruption and mismanagement of Societe Generale Bank which has seemingly not gone away, is that he comes from Kwara State. The State is geographically Northern but culturally Southern. His father was Olusola. He is Bukola. His wife is Toyin. His sister is Gbemisola. His Brother is Olaolu. His son is Olaseni. No one could be more Yoruba than Saraki. However, surprisingly, despite this great Yoruba credentials, the Yorubas do not also apparently view him as a Yoruba man but as a Northerner. I do not know how he plans to overcome that challenge of being neither cat nor rat. The Governor of Sokoto State, Waziri Aminu Tambuwal, attempted very briefly to run the Presidential race in 2015 but seemed to have chickened out and pulled back to settle for the gubernatorial race, where he eventually emerged successful. It is being mentioned in informed circles that he may still want to try his luck. As a former Speaker of the House of representatives and now Governor, he comes with some intimidating arsenal as e is still clearly well loved by his old constituency, the Federal legislators. It is not certain if he would abandon his almost guaranteed second term as Governor for a not so certain Presidential bid. His antecedents in this regard would persuade me not to expect too much of a change in Tambuwal’s circumstances this time around. The same goes for one of my favourite leaders, Mallam Nasir El Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State, one of the most cerebral, experienced and visionary leaders in Nigeria today. He is silently revolutionising Kaduna State although people see more of the controversial stuff coming out of that State because of its highly volatile religious mix of Muslims and Christians. Though he is yet to declare his interest openly, he is someone to watch…
APC clears 12 aspirants for Anambra governorship primary
Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress has cleared all the 12 aspirants who paid and picked nomination and expression of interest forms to take part in the party’s governorship primary in Anambra State.
Chairman of the screening panel, who is also the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Agboola Ajayi, said on Saturday in Abuja that all the 12 aspirants were eligible to contest the governorship primary.
The primary holds on August 19 in the state.
Ajayi spoke while presenting his committee’s report, adding that all the aspirants did well and were capable of leading the party in the state.
He said all the aspirants complied with the guidelines and that they all signed an undertaking form assuring that they would all support whoever emerges eventually as the candidate of the party.
The National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso, who congratulated the aspirants for being competent to stand for the primary, added that the next phase would be that of appeal panel, should there be any need for such.
He also commended the aspirants, saying, “So far, we have not received any report of violence among all the aspirants.
“We urge you to carry on and we are very hopeful that one of you will eventually emerge as the next governor of Anambra State. ”
Speaking with journalists shortly after he received his clearance certificate, Senator Andy Uba assured members of the party that he would stand with APC, whether he eventually wins the party’s ticket or not; adding that the incumbent governor of the state “must pack his load and go because APC must win Anambra.”
Election: Anambra lawyers declare war against IPOB, call Kanu anarchist
A group of Igbo lawyers under the platform of Anambra State Lawyers in Defence of Democracy has described the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra , Nnamdi Kanu as an anarchist . It accused Kanu and his IPOB of trying to cause anarchy in the country , calling on security operatives to deal decisively with the organization before it would plunge the country untold conflict. In a letter addressed to the Anambra State governor , Chief Willie Obiano and signed by its convener , Mr . Johnmary Jideobi, the lawyers said IPOB had introduced violence in the nation ’ s electoral process , with the threat to disrupt the November poll in Anambra state . In the letter titled , ‘The 2017 Anambra State Governorship Election and the imperative of ending the impunity of anarchists before it is too late’, the lawyers said : “The leader of IPOB , Mazi Nnamdi Kanu , has taken a decision and consequently issued a directive to the effect that elections would no longer hold in Biafraland . “No doubt , both your humble self and the members of ASLADD are all Biafrans . To this extent , it is therefore correct to state that no one man or group can lay claim to being more Biafran than the others. “The fulcrum of this urgent letter is to express the way we feel by the strident opposition mounted by the IPOB to the conduct of the 2017 governorship election in Anambra state . “We have chosen to write you on this , principally because we are involved . We are involved because democracy has come under imminent threat in our beloved state . “We are involved because the future of every nation ’s democracy lies on the shoulders of lawyers . “We are involved because lawyers are saddled with the sacred and abiding duties of enlightening the society, upholding the rule of law and defending our constitution , which is the most sacred document that holds our nation in balance and in being . “We are involved because it is our incontestable right to contribute in defining and protecting the future in which we will live and raise our kids .” The lawyers said further , “But IPOB did not stop at that. It has now gone physical. In Onitsha , video evidence abounds how IPOB members interrupted state activities where the governor went for a football tournament. On another occasion , the governorship candidate of Progressives Peoples ’ Alliance , PPA , Chief Godwin Ezeemo, was confronted at a rally by members of IPOB . “Only recently , the IPOB members invaded and desecrated St . Joseph’s Catholic Church , Ekwulobia in Aguata Local Government Area, where Governor Obiano was to worship . “From the account of the state Commissioner of Police , it took greater restraint and discipline on the part of the governor ’s security details to stave off what would have been a harvest of human casualties . “Still recently , a coalition of militants issued a stern warning to Anambrarians , to stay away from the polls on the 18 th of November , 2017 or pay dearly for daring to defy the order of Maazi Nnamdi Kanu . All these are deliberate acts aimed at striking terror in the minds of ordinary citizens who have made up their minds to go out and discharge their civic duty . “It is now clear that going further to disrupt electioneering processes like football tournaments, campaign rallies and invading and desecrating the sacred places of worship as witnessed in St . Joseph ’s Catholic Church , Ekwulobia, are acts clearly outside the meaning of the word “ boycott ”. “Those are acts of outlawry. They are forerunners of anarchy. Anarchy is antithetical to democracy . Anarchists are anti- democratic forces that must be opposed, whether in Nigeria or Biafra land . Anambra State has values that distinguish it from the lots . “It is important to point out that in every democracy , while the minority will always have their say , the majority will have their way . In every democracy , no one man has the monopoly of the knowledge of what is good for a people . “For seeking to precipitate anarchy in the state of the iconic departed supreme leader of Biafra Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu , they are enemies of Biafraland . They have no respect for the cherished memories of our departed supreme leader who in his matchless wisdom established APGA as a political party in the Nigerian Federation . This is a party which IPOB leader , Nnamdi Kanu once headed its United Kingdom chapter and he has not told us what has changed between then and now . “We wish to remind Your Excellency that as the Chief Security of Officer of this state , all the instruments and legitimate authority of the state are at your disposal . Your hand should be strengthened by this singular fact . “May your Administration never go down in history as first democratic government that was put in abeyance owing to the declaration of state of emergency in Anambra State as a result of avoidable security breaches . ”
By Abdullateef Aliyu
The apprehension that preceded the July 22 election into the 20 local governments (LGs) and 37 local council development areas (LCDAs) in Lagos can be blamed on lack of internal democracy among political parties, which analysts say remains the bane of the country’s democratic experiment. Our correspondent chronicles how the contest was lost and won.
Seventy-two hours to the election, the tension was palpable. Allegations flew here and there both within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition parties. In the APC, the tension was more evident. Aspirants were more vociferous in their condemnation of the selection method adopted in choosing the candidates. Hopes were dashed, aspirations were truncated and the selection process was subjected to the whims and caprices of the “power that be”. In the end, protests and agitations became the order of the day.
The Lagos State House of Assembly was also accused of aggravating the tension when five days to the election, it amended the electoral laws establishing the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC). According to the lawmakers, the amendment was aimed at “creating clarity and removing all forms of ambiguity” in the state’s existing electoral laws.
Key sections of the law that were amended included Sections 28 and 62(1). The Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, also explained that the amendment would “create more participation in the electoral process as well as create flexibility for the commission to effectively carry out its duties”.
The implication of the amendment was that political parties were allowed to replace candidates three days to the election. It was learnt that the amendment was to enable the APC conduct the court-ordered primary for Odi Olowo Local Council Development Areas. Following the conduct of the primary, protesters took to the streets demanding the expulsion of Dr. Muiz Banire, APC National Legal Adviser for alleged anti-party activities after the latter insisted on the conduct of primaries to pick candidates in the council.
The Odi Olowo controversy was however a phase in the series of protests over the way and manner candidates were chosen by the ruling party. Attempts by the party to allegedly impose candidates were initially responsible for the botched primaries conducted at the Surulere National Stadium on May 28, which ended in violence with the electoral committee chairman, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, scampering for safety.
After the botched exercise, tension and uncertainty pervaded the party in the 20 local governments and 37 local council development areas. The party did not however hold another primary. Instead, it resorted to, according to a party leader, “utilize its internal mechanisms to select the best candidates for the party”. Prior to the conduct of the primary, National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, had announced automatic ticket for 18 candidates as a “reward” for their contributions to APC victory in 2015.
Two weeks and even a week to the election, many aspirants were in the dark over their fate. They clearly could not tell which name would be sent to LASIEC. An aspirant in Ojokoro LG whose name was touted as the likely candidate told our correspondent he was not sure of his candidacy as he claimed some party leaders were plotting to replace him. Eventually his fear came to pass as his name was replaced with another.
Another aspirant, a woman, was also exasperated that she was edged out of the race by some party leaders in her local government. She said the development was instigated by her gender though the party debunked the claim.
One aspirant also cried out to Tinubu, disclosing that as an aspirant, she was persuaded to step down on the agreement that she would be given vice-chairmanship slot. However, the slot slipped away from her reach as it was given to another person who is believed to be a relative of a prominent financier of the party. She is now appealing to the party leaders to consider her for a Supervisory Councillor position. Most of the aspirants went to the poll battered, shattered and wounded over what they call, ‘imposition’ of candidates.
There was tension and apprehension. Violence was brewing especially in Mushin area of Lagos and amidst the unfolding hullabaloo, the state Assembly passed the amendment to the law which empowered political parties to substitute candidate at the 11th hour. Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), an election monitoring group expressed worry over the dimension the election was taking. It particularly faulted the speed with which the legislators amended the LASIEC laws, pointing out that such an amendment could cast aspersion on the credibility of the election.
Chairman of TMG, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi and the South-West coordinator of the group, Sulaimon Arigbagbu in a statement said, “Conduct of credible, free, fair and legitimate elections cannot be achieved in this kind of arrangement with an amendment taken place just three days to election.”
It called on LASIEC to ensure highest standard in the conduct and administration of the LG/LCDAs elections, by carrying out their responsibilities in accordance with law, and without fear or favour.
It expressed worry “about the incessant violence in some areas of Lagos, particularly in Mushin, due to issues surrounding the nomination of candidates and the tension building up in some quarters due to undemocratic activities of some of the major political parties in the run up to the election and the impact of such tension on the coming elections.”
Also Activist for Good Governance (AGG) also faulted the process leading to the election. National Chairman of AGG, Comrade Declan Ihekaire was of the view that the APC did not act well in its candidates’ selection process. In his address tagged, ‘Democracy of power show and political godfatherism’, Declan declared that certain influential persons had been tinkering with the psyche of the electorates by way of imposition.
However, despite the apprehension preceding the polls, the D-Day came and the exercise was conducted without much hassles. It was a cold morning on the streets of Lagos. The weather was cloudy and it was apparent it would be a rainy day in Lagos metropolis. As the exercise was on-going, it drizzled all the way. This was preceded by an early morning downpour which caused flood in some parts of the state. This prevented electoral officials from accessing some polling units as they were generally flooded.
The election was generally peaceful in most parts of the state amidst tight security as there was restriction of vehicular movement until 3 pm. Many Lagosians stayed indoors throughout the day leaving some polling units virtually deserted. Youths temporarily turned major roads and streets to football pitches, showing little or no concern for the election.
At the end of the exercise, the APC cleared the 57 chairmanship seats and 369 councillorships while PDP and Accord Party won four and three councillorship slots respectively, according to LASIEC. The final figures released by LASIEC showed that the PDP won in Ward C, Agege LGA; Ward A, Itire Ikate LCDA; Ward D, Ikorodu LGA and Ward A in Oriade LCDA while Accord won Ward E in Agege LGA, Ward D, Ikosi Isheri LCDA and Ward E, Somolu Local Government.
Just as the APC was enmeshed in crisis before the election, the PDP crisis was even more complicated following an alliance the party under Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee had with Labour Party before the election. While many thought that with the victory of the Makarfi group at the Supreme Court against the former Chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff, the party would cut its ties with Labour, it insisted on going ahead with the alliance. This, some observers believe, was its greatest undoing as the party went to poll fragmented and incapacitated to compete with the ruling party.
Our correspondent gathered that while the PDP leadership backed its candidates who contested under LP, some of their members actually used the platform of Accord Party which explains the split results in the councillorship tallies.
In Agege for instance, the PDP, by the result announced would have probably defeated APC, if it had not gone to poll divided. The results from the council showed that APC candidate polled 5,967 votes while PDP and Accord scored 3, 648 and 2, 054 respectively. In other local governments, it was Labour Party that trailed the APC.
At the time of filing this report, the PDP was yet to officially speak on the outcome of the election but it was learnt that some of the candidates have been given the go ahead to approach the tribunal to challenge results of some councils where they feel necessary.
The APC National Chairman hailed the exercise while thanking the people of Lagos State for trooping out to vote for the party.
Asked on the crisis over the primaries, he said, “is it not politics? You must have twists and turns…If you are a popular party, there’s no way you will not face the turbulence of democracy.
“When we have 57 local governments and local council development areas, the problem is that you have many people willing to use your party’s platform but you can only have one chairman, one councillor in a ward and you have many people fighting for slots”.
As the elected chairmen were sworn-in on Tuesday, the next challenge would be to explore avenues of pacifying the aggrieved in order to ensure smooth running of the councils and unite the party.
PDP, Accord win seven councillor seats as APC clears all 57 chairman seats in Lagos
By Abdullateef Aliyu,
The Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), yesterday, released the final results of the elections conducted in the 20 local government areas (LGAs) and 37 local council development areas (LCDAs).
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) cleared all the chairmanship seats, leaving few councillorship positions for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Accord Party (AP).
The APC won 369 councillorship seats while the PDP and AP won four and three councillorship seats, respectively.
According to the final figures made available to newsmen, the PDP won in Ward C, Agege LGA; Ward A, Itire Ikate LCDA; Ward D, Ikorodu LGA and Ward A in Oriade LCDA.
On its part, Accord Party won Ward E in Agege LGA, Ward D, Ikosi Isheri LCDA and Ward E, in Somolu Local Government.
The results were earlier announced by Returning Officers at each collation centres with APC coasting to victory as at Saturday.
Chairman of LASIEC, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, said that the commission worked tirelessly to guarantee fairness and justice for all political parties and their candidates.
She attributed the late commencement of voting in some areas to the early morning downpour which hindered movement of electoral officials, adding that flooding experienced at some polling units also compounded the challenge.
The chairman advised the winners to be magnanimous in victory, while charging candidates and political parties that had grievances to approach the tribunal.
Rain, violence, low turnout mar Lagos council election
Sesan Olufowobi, Gbenga Adeniji, Gbenro Adeoye, Arukaino UmUkoro , Stanley Opara , Samson Folarin, Tobi Aworinde , Ramon Oladimeji, Bukola Bakare , Afeez Hanafi and Tofarati Ige
Violence , downpour and voter apathy marred the local government election conducted by the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission across the state on Saturday.
The election was aimed at filling leadership positions in the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas in the state .
However , reports from across the state revealed that the enthusiasm that usually trailed general election was in short supply as Lagosians
preferred to observe Saturday as a day of rest.
From Lagos Island to Ikeja , Epe to Badagry and Ikorodu to all the polling units in the state , only a handful of voters came out to exercise their civil duty .
For instance , the polling unit where Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State voted was deserted by residents immediately the governor cast his vote.
Ambode , who arrived at Ward A6 , Unit10 , located on the premises of Ogunmodede Junior and Senior College , Papa , Epe , at about 9 . 30 am , cast his vote at 9 . 44 am .
Ambode was in the queue for about 12 minutes before he was accredited to vote .
After casting his vote, a large number of the residents in the queue followed the governor , calling him “Messiah of Epe , ” without waiting to vote .
The governor pleaded with the voters to cast their vote first before visiting him in his house but the electorate did not heed his pleas .
Rather , they stood guard at Ambode ’ s country home, not far from the school where the governor voted. They were still there as of 10 . 21 am when one of our correspondents left the area.
Apart from the downpour and voter apathy , the late arrival of electoral materials and violence scared voters away from the polling units.
For instance , thugs invaded some parts of Ojodu during the election on Saturday, thus scaring away some residents, voters , journalists , and other officials.
Though there was no display of violence , a good number of the thugs were seen smoking Indian hemp .
The voting areas affected included Ward F (polling booth 027 ) and Ward F (polling booth 008 A) .
Based on the available records , the electoral officers confirmed to one of our correspondents that voter turnout at the 027 polling booth was below 10 per cent. But for the polling booth 008 a , less than five per cent turnout was recorded as of 2 . 23 pm .
One of the electoral officers , who spoke to one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity , said they had sensed some sort of soft threats .
“ About two of these ‘ area boys ’ had asked us to disclose where we live . I don ’ t know what they want that for . In fact , he told us to behave ourselves , ” the officer said .
Meanwhile , the rains persisted, thus worsening the voter response rate.
Fake party agents arrested
It was also learnt that 12 persons were arrested by the police for misconduct during the election.
Five of the suspects were said to be fake party agents allegedly caught with incriminating voting materials and taken to the Area F Police Command , Ikeja .
The police , however , did not state where the suspects were arrested , their names and party affiliation .
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer , ASP Olarinde Famous- Cole , confirmed the arrest .
“ I have yet to get details of the suspects . They are in our custody, ” he added .
A senior police officer also disclosed to one of our correspondents that a traditional ruler was arrested in the Ajangbadi area of Lagos in the build-up to the election.
“ The monarch was arrested on Thursday after complaints that he was a threat to the peace of the community, and that he would likely cause problems during the election, ” he added.
Shooting in Mushin
One of our correspondents observed that the exercise was conducted under tense atmosphere in Mushin as hoodlums shot continuously to disrupt the poll.
The hoodlums had attempted to snatch ballot boxes in some polling units in the area but for the intervention of policemen in the convoy of the state Commissioner of Police , Fatai Owoseni .
Even though the attempt was foiled , the shooting continued for about 30 minutes while the CP was on the ground .
Voting was brought to an abrupt end at about 1 . 30 pm because of the situation while seven persons , including a lady were arrested in the area .
Many of the residents of Mushin failed to show up at the polling units as a result of the persistent downpour that started early in the morning .
At polling unit 006 , Amu , Palm Avenue, in Mushin Local Government, voting started at 10 am and the electorate turned out in trickles to vote for their candidates of choice . The exercise was initially peaceful as people cast their votes and immediately left the vicinity .
As the end of the exercise , less than 200 people voted out of 535 registered voters at the polling unit .
Apart from Mushin , the CP also visited Oshodi and Agege , which were identified as flashpoints . There was no crisis in Oshodi and Agege areas as of the time Owoseni was there.
But it was learnt that a ballot box was reportedly snatched at Ilupeju , while ballot papers were thrown into a drainage channel at Kakoare.
Owoseni , while addressing journalists , promised that the police would increase security presence , especially in the black spots to avert post -election violence .
He said , “ The election was relatively peaceful . In a process like this , you cannot completely rule out skirmishes in some areas . There were skirmishes , but we rose to the occasion . We are still taking stock of the arrests and at the end of the day , the number will be made known . The law is there for any one find culpable . ”
Rain , apathy in Lagos Island
Like in many parts of Lagos , participation in the council election on the Lagos Island was marred by the rainfall which residents said started around 4 am on Saturday.
The major parts of the roads were taken over by youths playing football as policemen mounted guards at junctions .
In the Isale Eko area , SUNDAY PUNCH observed a group of hoodlums moving from one polling unit to another and asking residents to vote for a particular party .
The general low turnout was also seen in Ward C2 Unit 008 Ilu Pesi.
As of 11 . 06 am , only 25 voters had cast their votes .
In Ward C unit 018 , Ikoyi, LASIEC officials said party agents went out to call the electorate . Just about 10 pieces of ballot papers were seen in the boxes .
In Ward E Unit 032 Falomo , there was no voter in sight .
A LASIEC official said the rain adversely affected the turnout .
He explained that those who came out could not vote because they did not have the Permanent Voter Card .
“ People are generally showing apathy due to the economic situation. I also think that the awareness was very poor , ” he said .
Out of the 800 registered voters , only 25 showed up as of 11 :5 am when one of our correspondents visited .
There was little sign of life in the Lekki area as many residents were holed up in their houses due to the downpour .
The voters in Ward A unit 016 , Lekki Phase 1 , were stranded due to the absence of the accreditation list .
Some of them expressed disappointment at the electoral body , saying they were disenfranchised .
“ This is rubbish , I have never seen this kind of a thing , ” one of them, Hector Ebolosue, a resident , said .
In Ward E , Unit 13 and 17 Iru /Victoria Island of the 1 , 469 registered voters , only about nine had been able to vote as of 1 pm on Saturday.
Also in Ward A , Unit 13 Lekki Scheme 1 Eti Osa LGA , out of 1 , 439 registered voters , only five voted as of 1 . 12 pm .
A LASIEC officer said there was low turnout and she was tired .
“ The rain and the environment contributed to the low turnout . This is Island , not the mainland . A lot of people are not coming out. If the situation remains like this , we will have no choice but to count those who have voted , ” the female officer said .
Late arrival of the electoral materials was observed in many polling centres . For instance , on Apapa Road and Oyingbo , Herbert Macaulay, Alagomeji areas in Lagos Mainland , one of our correspondents observed that most presiding officers had yet to set up their polling booths as of 8 . 15 am due to the flood that took over strategic positions in the areas .
Many of them were seen struggling to find another location to mount their stands . Eligible voters and party stalwarts loitered around to await further directives from the LASIEC officials.
According to findings by our correspondents , some of the locations where officers ought to mount polling booths were flooded and they had to find alternative positions .
Speaking to SUNDAY PUNCH , a businesswoman , Mrs. Anna Egwu , who resides in the Oyingbo area of the Lagos Mainland , said that she was no longer keen on casting her vote , having waited for a while .
“ I came to my polling unit as early as 7 . 30 am , even though it was raining and to my dismay, the officials weren’ t ready . I have since returned to my house because I have better things to do , ” she said .
One of the presiding officers at Ward 003 , Unit 21 , Adeyanju Olorunfunmi , on Apapa Road on the Mainland , noted that in addition to the downpour , the late arrival of voting materials was also a contributory factor to the late take off of the exercise .
However , only 70 out of the 356 registered voters voted at the polling unit . At Ward C, polling unit 22 , there were 406 registered voters with only 37 votes cast as of the time of
SUNDAY PUNCH ’ s visit at 1 . 15 pm .
In the same vein, one of the party agents, Lola Ujah, bemoaned the fact that there was low voter turnout and she had to join her colleagues to ring bells as a signal for voters to come out and vote.
Other respondents corroborated her claims .
At the Alagomeji and Herbert Macaulay axis of Lagos , one of our correspondents also noticed a low turnout of voters as some youths used the opportunity to play the football.
In Agege , low turnout of voters and delay in arrival of electoral materials marred the election.
Roads become football field
Many residents chose to stay indoors while some others were on the streets playing football on the deserted roads or drinking at bars , thereby defying the state government ’ s ban on movement and commercial activities during the election.
One of such residents who expressed his frustration , Mrs. Janet Ogunwale, lambasted the state electoral body for its conduct of the poll, saying it was poorly organised .
“ I don ’ t think I have ever seen any election that is this bad . At this time ( 12 . 30 pm ), there is no sign of electoral officials or materials . I had planned to vote today , but now , it is not looking like it will be possible . I ’ m returning home , ” she said .
Fear in Oshodi
Residents of Oshodi Local Government Area in the state attributed the low turnout of voters during the poll to the fear of violence .
Several residents told one of our correspondents that violence that preceded previous elections in the area was a reason why many people refused to come out to vote.
“ Many people are afraid . They don ’ t want to be caught up in any form of violence , so they decided to stay away. A few of my friends told me they were not going to come out to vote because of that , ” said a resident , Mr . Sola Ahmed , who voted at a polling unit in Ward B, in Oremeji .
Similarly, another voter , who gave her name as Funke, said she took a risk to participate in the exercise .
However , a voter , Adesola Odedokun, said the low turnout was “ because the people are not happy with the state and local governments. ”
As of 2 . 25 pm, only 60 people out of 631 registered voters had cast their votes in Ward B, Oremeji polling unit ; while only 200 out of 997 registered voters had voted in polling unit 10 , Ward B, Adeyemi / Arowojobe junction .
Culled from The Punch