The bye-elections conducted for the replacement of the two dead lawmakers at the National Assembly and Lagos state House of Assembly were marred by low voter turnout in the affected constituencies.
It will be recalled that the Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Sen. Bayo Osinowo and the lawmaker representing Kosofe state constituency 2, Hon. Tunde Braimoh died mid this year of an undisclosed ailment, and their death called for their replacement in their respective constituencies.
Although, the bye-elections which were supposed to be held on October 30th were shifted to today Dec.5th due to the #EndSARS protest.
It was noticed that registered voters who were expected to show enthusiasm toward casting their votes for their choice candidate did not show up in their numbers to exercise their voting right. In some areas monitored, the polling units were scanty of voters as polling unit officers were seen sitting idle despite the fact that they set up their voting cubicles as early as 8:45am.
In polling unit 029 in Somolu local government where there was 467 registered voters, only 14 came to cast their vote. 453 voters refused to show up.
In polling unit 001 in Ikorodu local government area, only 52 registered voters showed up for accreditation out of 915 registered voters. Likewise in polling unit 002, where 576 voters were registered, only 52 showed up for accreditation. The two polling units were opposite Ikorodu Town Hall and as well close to the secretariat of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Ikorodu.
Moving round, polling units in Kosofe Constituency 2, few voters were seen at polling units casting their vote, most especially in Agiliti area and Ketu Alapere area.
Speaking with the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the Kosofe state Constituency 2 bye-election after casting his vote, Hon. Femi Saheed, he expressed confidence in the way and manner the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted the election, saying that there was voter apathy.
Saheed stated that the voter apathy may have been caused due to the fact that people were not familiar with bye-election in Nigeria.
He expressed confidence in winning the election, adding that with the achievements of the state government, his victory is assured.
The APC candidate said there is need for the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to step up their game in enlightening the populace on electoral participation during bye-election, saying with that voters would know and understand the impact of bye-election to the political development of the country.
Also, speaking with journalists, the lawmaker representing Ikorodu Federal Constituency, Hon. Jimi Benson, acknowledged the low turn out of voters in the bye-elections, saying that the turnout was poor.
” Unfortunate, the turnout was poor. There is voter apathy among Lagos Easterners and that is what a country faces when there is bye-election but it was peaceful”, said Benson.
He called on the political elite to educate and enlighten their followers and the people of the essence of participating in electoral process.
” It rests on the NOA and the political class to enlighten the voters on the essence of participating in the political process most especially in bye-election. We need to talk more to our people as political leaders on the essence of conducting bye-election in a political system”, said Benson.
However, the security agencies most especially the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) were on ground in Ikorodu, Somolu and Kosofe area as road blocks were mounted along Ikorodu road. Almost 7 road blocks were counted from Ketu busstop to Ikorodu garage. Private and commercial vehicles were turned back on the major roads as sizeable number of vehicles were seen moving within the streets in somolu.
As at the time of filing this report, no incident of violence or ballot box snatching was recorded in any of the 5 local governments in Lagos East.