When touts took over election in Agbaje’s polling unit
“We can’t see the ballot boxes again,” the young man shouted. “We can’t see the ballot boxes again.”The thick, dark complexioned tout on tracksuits kept shouting.“We can’t see the ballot boxes again,” another young man shouted. “We can’t see the ballot boxes again.”
Restless gathering of thugs hoping to make money took over the whole polling unit.On the prompting of about five others, who equally stood with same mission, the thick tout, who limps, said in a gruffy voice, “we will not allow journalists to steal the ballot boxes.” He shouted loosely, shooting everybody a sharp look. “We can’t see the ballot boxes again.”Biting down on his lips, he mumbled: “You these journalists, you have taken over out polling unit,” another said in a jocu-serious manner.
A journalist looked at him and shouted, “there is camera in our front, we won’t support any politician to steal the joy of Nigerians.”
The touts voice was very high and was becoming an embarrassment to everybody, even to himself.That’s, if he really had shame, because after. Some minutes, the six of them were spotted taking their ‘sepeteri’, marijuana and monkey tale.
It seemed like a joke when you look at the atmosphere, but no journalist liked the situation. About 40 of them descended on the polling unit like ‘ants on a rotten meat’ waiting for Agbaje. The journalists were more than the voters who came in trickles. Like when water was stopping from its flow in the tap, the voters were coming and going, one after the other, but the horde of journalists were waiting to see Agbaje cast his vote.
A woman, Mrs. Emos, who spoke to The Guardian, said, “their shouldn’t have been light. If government wanted people to come out, it should have switched off light.” The woman who voted in Agege, added, “There wouldn’t have been peace, if the Presidential election had not favoured President Buhari.”She said, “Everybody would have been fighting. Why is Nigeria like this? Does President Buhari know all this?”
The woman, who left her abode in Ogun State to vote in Lagos, where she registered, said: “Thank God elections have ended, we can now have peace.”She continued, “Nobody will look for omo Ibo again as scapegoats.”Mr. Paul Chukwuma who voted in Okota, said, “We can now have peace. In every election, they target we the Igbo. Don’t we have right again? We decided not to come out, because politicians should not use our businesses to score political points.”
An electorate, who spoke to The Guardian in Apapa, said: “More needs to be done to convince Nigerians to vote. Many Nigerians were not impressed with the outcome of the Presidential election. How many of them came out to jubilate like 2015? That shows you something is wrong.”
The governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, and the Speaker of State Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, also faulted the electoral process in the country, saying there is need for immediate change.Specifically, Agabje bemoaned the situation, where in many places, the card readers malfunctioned, thereby, resulting in disenfranchisement of voters.
While casting his vote at his polling unit, Ward A, unit 004 Apapa, at the weekend, he said it took several attempts before the card reader could identify his finger prints.His words: “We are having situation where in some polling units where the card reader is not working they said they cannot vote. Today, fortunately, after several attempts, the card reader identified my finger prints, what I am saying is that, there has to be uniform process, where when the card reader is not working, manual vote should be allowed.”
On his part, the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, while casting his vote at ward 5, polling unit 19, Agege, decried the high cost of the electoral processes, stressing that such funds could be diverted to other areas to better the lots of the people.He said: “The process is expensive and the result does not commensurate with the cost. We should look inward and get something that will be totally acceptable to all. This will reduce the cost.
“I have always believed that we need to adopt our own system, something that would work for our country and our people will understand perfectly. Adopting what we see elsewhere will not be very helpful to us. I think we should go back to what we used to do in the past, the MKO way. The pattern was cheaper and clearer.”
Domestic observers monitoring the governorship and state Assembly elections also said the voter apathy recorded in Lagos was the result of skirmishes and insecurity experienced in the February 23 Presidential elections.While speaking with journalists, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin also noted that unavailability of ad-hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at polling units as at when due was also responsible for the apathy.
According to her, “At Opebi, Moses Olaiya, Alausa among others, there were no trace of election going on as at 10:30am.”She added that this could lead to discouragement on the part of voters.While also commenting on the non usage of card readers, she said, “ in some units, manual voting was ongoing in some areas.”
Odumakin continued, “we have been to no less than 35 places this morning. As we speak in Opebi, there is no INEC official or ad-hoc staff except security and party agents. Also at polling Unit 8, Fadeyi, they were voting manually. Also at Ojo, they informed us that the ad hoc staff arrived around 10:10am. The Corps members complained of non payment of their allowances.”
The lady added, “At Moses Olaiya, Ojodu, Alausa, no ad-hoc staff had arrived. Also, at Ojota, there was no sign of any ad hoc staff or INEC officials. The same for Eti-Osa.
“A few people got discouraged, because they didn’t imagine getting there and waiting for more than two hours. But Oshodi and Ketu voting commenced early, as at when due.“Generally in terms of turnout, compared to what we had in the Presidential election, there is voter apathy but our concern is that one of the reasons why especially in Lagos some decided to stay back is because of the security situation. “When touts took over election in Agbaje’s polling unit.
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