…as cubana chief priest carpets INEC
By: Okosun Dennis
The expectation that the Governorship and House of Assembly elections would be free and fair in Lagos state wasn’t so after all as some voters were intimidated, beaten and chased out of their polling units by thugs and party agents in some parts of Lagos State during Saturday’s election.
Despite voters’ enthusiasm to vote, their joy were shortlived as some were either turned back or those that managed to have casted their votes for Labour Party (LP) or the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) were beaten to stupor mercilessly by All Progressive Congress (APC) hired thugs and members who waited for them after such electorate had casted his/her vote.
Speaking with Cubana Chief Priest at the Elegushi palace, he expressed disappointment with INEC for their lackadaisical performance. “INEC is crazy; very crazy. They showed up very late; they were very late. Some people came out as early as 8:30am but they were not there. They need to do better,” he reiterated.
Our correspondent who covered Lekki/Ajah axis gathered that voter’s turnout was abysmally poor compared to the presidential election three weeks ago.
Although most of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officers arrived in some polling units on time, voting didn’t commence until a couple of hours later due to the non-availability of security men – police – as they were instructed not to do so without the presence of policemen.
At the Ogombo Primary School, Ajah in Etiosa local government area of Lagos State, it was a case of survival of the fittest as any voter who casted his/her vote against the ruling party was attacked by thugs.
While two men were attacked by about 10 drunken and hefty thugs, it was gathered that they voted against APC. Also, one elderly woman was assaulted at the Healthcare Centre at Ogombo. They all voted at polling units 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17.
Regrettably however, some of those polling units were turned into a battle field were voters were viciously intimidated and beaten while the thugs chorused: “You can’t come to our land and vote against our party.” This was re-echoed by a well known Omonile who concluded, “Serve them right.”
Meanwhile, some policemen sent to the polling station at the Ogombo Primary School had their hands full as they stood akimbo and watched voters beaten black and blue without any interference or made an attempt to stop the attackers.
At the Abraham Adesanya Estate, the two polling units identified as PU 059 and 060 were laced with commotion and confusion as the residents stood against the relocation.
According to a resident who simply identified himself as Otunba Ayodele said there was commotion as INEC ad-hoc staffs wanted to relocate the polling units domiciled inside the estate to outside the estate hence they stood against it requesting to know the rationale behind such relocation as it has always been inside the Estate even during the presidential election.
Unfortunately, our correspondent gathered that about 11:34am, voting has not started as INEC ad-hoc staffs were struggling with the residents on where to erect the units, leading to some physical exchange between some thugs and residents. But with the intervention of soldiers, situation was calmed before voting started after noon.
At Ikota Primary School, PU O29, election went on smoothly as there were no incidences of molestation and intimidation. However, the turnout was abysmally poor as all the units located within the school were empty before 12noon.
At the Victoria Garden City (VGC), Jakande, NICON Estate and environs down to Elegushi -Ikate, voters intimidation and suppression were the order of the day.
In one of the 16 polling units within Elegushi -Ikate Palace and environs, a reporter with Vanguard Newspaper, identified as Nnamdi was not only harrassed by thugs for doing his job, but one of the palace chiefs whose identity couldn’t be ascertained rudely grabbed his phone and forcefully took it from him before one of the frightening thugs poured water on his head for having the effrontery and boldness to record proceedings at the polling unit.
Although election went against tension and fear, most voters of other parties persuasion were debarred from performing their civic responsibilities. Unfortunately, anybody that voted against the ruling party was tagged as enemy hence they prevented some journalists from taken pictures or making video recordings of the electoral process.
Even though there were some remarkable improvements in INEC deployments of materials timely, the security agencies especially the police were flat – as some reported electoral frauds were copiously committed in their presences without any impediment of any sort.
While soldiers were everywhere on the roads checking movements, they also ensured that where there were skirmishes, timely interventions were a top-notch when called into it.
Meanwhile, results declared by the Presiding officers of in almost all the 16 polling units located within Elegushi -Ikate palace were swept by the All Progressive Congress (APC) except one where Labour Party gained sway. For the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), they recorded no vote or insignificant number of votes compared to its performance in the Presidential and National Assembly Elections.
In polling unit 049 located opposite the Elegushi Palace in the House of Assembly election, LP scored 43; Boot Party scored 1 vote; NNPP 2 votes; PDP 1 vote while APC scored 111. In the Governorship election, APC scored 108 and LP scored 38 vote cast. At Polling unit 46, APC scored 23 votes and LP scored 117 votes. Others included ADC 12 votes and PDP no vote cast. For the State House of Assembly, Labour Party won with 121 vote cast while APC scored 21.
Some voters who spoke anonymously with our correspondent expressed disappointment with the high level of violence that greeted the governorship election in the state; adding that a lot needed to be done to address the use of thugs in subsequent elections.
However, against INEC directives, a voter was allowed to vote after presenting her temporary voter’s card. Also, another voter was accredited to cast his vote without a valid PVC.