24th July, 2021
Saturday’s local council poll in Ogun was characterised largely by low turnout of voters and logistic challenges.
NAN correspondents who monitored the exercise across the state reports that the elections scheduled to hold between 8 a.m and 2.00 p.m did not start until 11.00 a.m in most of the polling centres.
Most of the polling units visited at Itoku and Kobiti areas in Abeokuta South Local Government area, as well as, Ewekero and Mowe areas in Obafemi-Owode Local Government, were virtually empty as at 10.00 a.m.
At polling units at Obantoko and Federal College of Education, Osiele in Odeda Local Government area, election officials arrived on time polling materials.
They were, however, seen sitting idle waiting for voters who were coming out in trickles.
Apathy also played out in other council areas like the Ado-Odo/Ota and Ikenne council areas in spite of the fact that the electoral officers were on ground.
NAN reports that the exercise was generally peaceful in all the polling booths, in spite of the minimal presence of security officials, including the Amotekun Corps.
The restriction order on movement was strictly enforced in most of the local government areas, except Iperu, the hometown of the governor in Ikenne Local Government.
Residents violated the restriction order in the town as they were going about their normal businesses, while vehicles were moving about unhindered in many parts of the town.
Governor Abiodun, who voted in the town called for mass participation.
“Our popular voice in votes would further ensure accountability in grassroots governance, and bring results and performance closer to us in the State’s 20 local governments and 236 wards”, he said.
Commenting, Mr Abdullahi Jabi, an Election Observer, said that the exercise was peaceful and orderly in many of the polling booths.
Jabi also confirmed that the exercise was characterised by low turnout.
He said there seems to be apathy, saying that the fear of the unknown could not allow some of the voters to come out.
“For areas we have covered so far, it has been peaceful, but there has been clear evidence of apathy.
“You can imagine that in a particular unit of almost 800 registered voters, only about 10 people turned out for voting, as at almost noon.
“People are generally losing interest in the council polls and if the situation is not addressed quickly, it will extend into the general elections,” Jabi said.
He ascribed the situation to fear of insecurity and lack of faith by the electorate in the state electoral agency.