Ogun records massive turnout of voters
• Obasanjo, Osinbajo Commend Voting Process
• INEC In Slow Start In Some Polling Units
• Abiodun Expresses Concern Over Hitches
• BVAS Fails To Accredit Osoba, Others
Despite the slow start in yesterday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections in Ogun State, huge turnout of voters was recorded across the state.
From Abeokuta, the state capital, to Ikenne, Iperu, Ilaro, Ifo and other parts of the state, voters came out in their large numbers to exercise their franchise.
It was, however, noticed that there were some hitches in some of the polling units. It was noticed that election materials and personnel got to some polling units late.
At some of the polling units in Abeokuta, the state capital, security personnel and the electorate were seen waiting for the electoral officers as at 9:20 am, while in others, accreditation and voting started as early as 8:35 a.m.
The Guardian learnt that Obafemi/Owode was the worst hit, as Ibafo, Mowe, Oba, Ofada and other parts of the council waited till around 1:00 p.m. before the arrival of electoral material and personnel.
It was learnt that some party agents were also no given identification tags, while some eligible voters were denied accreditation by the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machine deployed by INEC.
Aside the peaceful conduct of the polls, there was no case of any security breach, as security was water-tight across the state. The Army and operatives of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) manned strategic areas to stop any breach of security.
Meanwhile, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who voted in his Ikenne country home for the first time, expressed joy at the orderly manner the polls were conducted.
Osinbajo, who voted at his Ward I, Polling Unit 4, Egunrege, Ikenne, at exactly 10:00a.m., in the company of his wife, Dolapo and aides, said: “I hope that the orderly manner in which this unit was conducted will be replicated across the country.”
The state Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, who cast his vote around 11:25a.m. at Ward 3, Polling Unit 2, Ita Osayin, Iperu, expressed concern over hitches experienced in the course of the election in some parts of the state.
Abiodun, who spoke after voting, said the issues bothered on agents’ identification tag. The governor, who wore native attire with his trademark black cap, said: “I just exercised my franchise in full public glare. There were a few hitches, which centred around the fact that INEC did not provide enough identification tags for the party agents. I am yet to confirm what caused it. But, I am not sure it applies to all parties, but our agents are complaining. I am sure it will be worked out.
“The voters’ turnout is impressive and very exciting. What we see here at the polling unit will be indicative of what is happening in other polling units in the state.”
While thanking INEC for taking responsibility for such task, he said it was not unusual that there might be slight hitches in such a task, “but I know INEC is capable of surmounting it.”
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo expressed satisfaction over conduct of the general elections.
Obasanjo spoke shortly after casting his votes at Polling Unit 022 of Ward 11 Zone 06 of Olusomi Compound, Sokori in the Totoro area of Abeokuta North Local Council.
Obasanjo declared that Nigeria was getting it right, particularly with the use of the BVAS adopted by INEC for the year’s general elections, notwithstanding that “there are still rooms for improvement.”
Obasanjo emphatically declared that he was in full support of anything that would help Nigeria conduct a transparent and credible election.
“I think we are getting it through. You can see things that need improvement in future. I came in I was checked. I was asked to remove my glasses, I removed my glasses and my picture appeared. That is a new one, and if that will happen all over the country, I think we are making progress. And of course, election is the beginning of good governance for any country”.
“My expectation is high, the BVAS is a new thing and obviously any new thing that would help the credibility and integrity of any process must be encouraged. ”
Sadly, the APC National Leader and former Governor of Ogun State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba could not exercise his franchise after repeated failures of the BVAS machine to accredit him.
The former governor, who initially arrived at the GRA Polling Unit at 11.00a.m, made several efforts to make him get accredited, but the BVAS machine repeatedly disappointed him, as it would neither recognise his face, nor the fingerprints.
Even when he varied his positions and dressing by repeating the process with his cap on head and without the cap on, the BVAS still would not recognise Osoba in all the instances, prompting him to leave the venue with a declaration that: “I’m highly disappointed.”
He said: “The BVAS, again, failed. I have been here twice, and twice, the BVAS cancelled my accreditation. This development can lead to cancellation of huge turnout of voters in this unit. It’s the same card used in 2019, election, in this same unit. It is sad.
“I feel very sad but encouraged by the huge turnout, particularly the aged, many of whom are above 70 and 80 years. The turnout means that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is poised for victory. I have courage in INEC, the issue caused by technological failure, its only about three or four of us that have been unlucky, that’s not a major setback for INEC, definitely, they’ll do everything possible to ensure that Information Technology centre makes are that the BVAS works better.”
Osoba, who expressed joy with the turnout, regretted that his local council, Obafemi/Owode experienced late arrival of election materials. “I am appealing to INEC to ensure that it extend voting period in those places where election started late”.
“In terms of peaceful conduct of the election and security, one is encouraged. I want to thank our people and congratulate them for their peaceful coexistence irrespective of whichever political party they are voting.”