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Apathy and a suspect political equation in Lagos




IT is now an open secret in many informed circles in Lagos State that despite the low voter turnout at the last  governorship  election in the state, the number of voters  at the April 11 elections were  more  than those that voted at the presidential  elections earlier on March 28.

Analysts have wondered aloud in the media and social networks how this could be.

Obviously a phantom invisible hand of  ‘Maradona’ has performed on election figures that made a mess of both the politics  of voters’ participation and apathy that pervaded  the whole nation except Lagos State  at the governorship election won by Akinwunmi Ambode  of the APC . .

We need to remind  ourselves  of events leading to the Lagos State governorship  election which many thought  was won by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s  candidate  Jimi Agbaje who put in a very challenging  and credible campaign  performance  that many also    believed was enough to have clinched the governorship  for him anywhere in Nigeria except in Lagos  as  the election results show.

Before the presidential election, Lagos was one of the many states that INEC disenfranchised voters by simply  not making their permanent voter cards (PVCs) available for use where they voted at the 2011 elections even though the voters card for 2011  elections  had no expiry date and could have been used effectively to vote in the 2015  elections .

Even the state governor waded into the issue spiritedly before  making a retreat  once he got his own card before the postponement  of the election earlier on.

So  with  the twin problems of disenfranchisement and  understandable voter apathy, how come Lagos State  election results showed more voters’participation in the governorship elections  than  the rest of the nation?

The  answer may lie in the threat to the Igbo by the Oba of  Lagos  which  warned  them  to vote for his choice  candidate  Ambode  of the APC  or risk  drowning in the  Lagoon.

The election results showed that three Igbo candidates got elected into the House of Representatives while two  got elected into the State House of Assembly. Could more Igbo have been elected into the state Assembly without the threat and could more Igbo have  come out to vote but for the threat?  These are questions that have to be answered sooner than later.

No answer, however, can ignore the fact that the momentum of political participation nationwide  was higher in the presidential elections nationwide except Lagos. .

Around the world, voters do not all come out to vote  in  elections. That is voter apathy. But it has a trend or history and each election has its own peculiarities  and context.

In some cases, less  than 45 % of voter turnout is deemed agreeable while it may not be acceptable  in other locations or environments.

In  all cases,  however,  it is a recognised  fact  that certain factors make voters lose  interest  in exercising their democratic rights and that is not an offence in any nation or clime.

In Lagos in the last governorship elections, it could well be that the bandwagon effect flowing from the presidential election results made voters to stay indoors  although  many still  trooped out to vote for change by voting for  Jimi  Agbaje  of the PDP.

But  then  that does not excuse the fact  that at the end of voting, the total votes cast  in that election was  higher  than that recorded in  the presidential  election which recorded a massive turnout.

Who  then is fooling who in the figures announced (in Lagos)? Definitely, disenfranchisement and  apathy cannot  add  up  to increased voter  participation in any election including that in Lagos on  April  11.

The  political  equation  is therefore suspect  and a new formula is urgently needed to justify the mysterious figures announced for the elections in which Ambode  won  by defeating  Agbaje  who  was the favourite of Lagosians  in that election.

• Rogers, a public commentator, writes from Lagos

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  • Felix

    you just wrote rubbish

  • Proud Yoruba

    Utter rubbish! You should be fired from Guardian and fired from Yorubaland for being an ibo lover! Please move to anambra state and try to work and live there, we don’t want self-hating Yorubas in our land.

    • Victor

      Mr Proud are you so laden with hate and ethnic bigotry? Your likes are the real problem of Nigeria and a source of contempt to the Yoruba, who otherwise are considered to be generally educated and socially sophisticated. What a shameful public display of a hateful mind!

      • Proud Yoruba

        You should know about hate, because ibos are incurable haters, and hate Yorubas without a cause. You think we are stupid? Why is it only ibo land that still has 95 to 99 percent of the population as indigenes? You don’t want to extend any goodwill to anyone, but you expect others to accept you with all your mischief, treachery, and general criminal behavior! Why don’t you open your eyes and take a good look at your behavior everywhere you go, and why the hosts always want to get rid of you. You contribute nothing, just a bunch of lazy parasites looking for handout to take back home, is that a strategy for development?

        • Victor

          You have a big burden which is bound to increase anyway. Pray God helps you.

          • Proud Yoruba

            I don’t have a big burden which is bound to increase. You have a big burden which is bound to increase! Your voodoo will not work here evil one.

          • Victor

            Do not be afraid Mr Proud. Love and do not hate. Then you will have peace of mind. Give your life to Jesus Christ and you will be secure and not have to fear. Best regards!

          • Proud Yoruba

            P off freak!

  • Femi Animashaun

    This writer is apparently has a hidden agenda. He speaks of ‘many’ and ‘they’. Who are the people he’s referring to? We’ve really had enough of Igbo problems in Lagos. The whole of Nigeria is very well represented in Lagos, but Igbos are the constant and only trouble makers as a group. Hope they are well prepared for the consequences of their treachery to we indigents of Lagos. That welcome mat will soon be rescinded. This writer is very deceptive, and a liar at best. Igbos were moving freely around during elections with federal might behind them, and were successful at rigging in many places, while using soldiers for protection. These acts will never be allowed to happen in Lagos again. Enmity has been declared against the indigents. The lines are drawn.

    • Proud Yoruba

      Thank you. This is exactly what the Oba was telling them, what you can’t do in Aba and Onitsha, don’t come and do here! But ibos are incurable haters. Their land us 95 to 99 percent indigenes because they make visitors so unwelcome there, yet they go to other people’s land to cause mischief and conduct themselves in a criminal way selling fake drugs and fake car parts. They are not even the largest non-indigene group in Yorubaland, but they make noise louder than the owners of the land.

      But we have to be careful how we get them out this time because the last deportation exercise is still ringing in Fashola’s ears. They are very good at being victims. An economic embargo will render them broke and force them back to their ancestral land. An ibo free life is the best life, until we are rid of them, we’ll have no peace in our own land!

      • ifeanyi victor

        What was that they could not do in aba that they’re doing in lagos?

      • Femi Animashaun

        You’re correct Bro. Well, Yoruba has finally had enough. So let them deal with what they started.

  • ifeanyi victor

    From the comments I have read so far I’m well convinced that the yorubas are shallow thinkers and criminally covetious lots.
    Igbo population in lagos must reflect in lagos politics and atimes I wonder why some patently yoruba idiots talk of igbos in lagos as though they were in foreign country looking for resident permit or that they should not have their own mind and aspire for anything or that they give igbos free handouts,lands etc in lagos.
    All I see here is covetiousness and jealousy and fear of growing igbo importance in lagos.
    Talk of ethnic mega-city,the belligerant folks who should be cautioned in lagos are for good reasons the yoruba folks and their oba.

    • Proud Yoruba

      The only place you have a right to reside in Nigeria is your state of origin, anywhere else you are a guest and you can only stay as long as the host wants you there, so don’t think that Yorubas owe you anything. This is the Nigerian constitution. I don’t have time to explain to you about the concept of state of origin, you can ask your elders to explain it to you, but it basically means that your state of origin is your land and no where else, if you don’t like how we treat you in Lagos, then you have one choice only, move back to your state of origin and shut it! It is better that you move back so we don’t deport you.

      • ifeanyi victor

        Obviously you’re not intelligent.
        Yorubas are just being covetious and beating about the bush,yorubas can identify their problems by reading “WORLD ON FIRE” by a yale university professor,Amy Chua,yoruba nation can locate their problems there.