Many Residents of Lagos state Saturday shunned the local government elections even as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu admitted that the low turnout may be as a result of low voters’ education before the polls.
The governor who arrived at his polling unit at 11:03 am in company of his wife, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, said though there was late arrival of materials at the four polling units he checked on his way to cast his vote, the election had offered Lagosians the opportunity to exercise their franchise by voting their preferred candidates.
The governor who spoke shortly after voting at the polling Unit 019, Ward 9, Lateef Jakande/ Femi Okunnu Avenue, Ikoyi, said that “I have noticed about four polling booths. I would not say they were crowded polling booths but all went on peacefully. Reports I have gotten so far in the last two hours are that things are going as expected. There could be delay in terms of arrival of materials but we thank God we have started and I hope what we have seen here is what we will see in other polling units; that people will turn out and express themselves in the ongoing local government and councillors election in Lagos State. We are expecting that everything will go on well, free and fair.
“This is only time we can express ourselves freely. It’s a question of the encouragement and advocacy that we need to continue to give to our citizens. All the logistics have been provided, it’s just for our people to come out and exercise their franchise. We will continue to improve on the advocacy,” Sanwo-Olu said.
While responding to question on the serenity of the voting area, the governor said the construction of the Lateef Jakande Avenue was in fulfilment of his campaign promises to the people.
“What you have seen here is a reflection of what is happening in our local governments. Two years ago, this Lateef Jakande Road was not like this but we have constructed the road and we are doing the same thing in all our local governments. The whole idea around governace is to improve the life of our people and I am sure that we would continue,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said the level of advocacy needs improvement as people exercise their franchise.
Meanwhile, a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon Gbolahan Yishawu has advised residents in the State the polls are the only proof of the people’s power in democracy.
Yishawu who represents Eti-Osa constituency II in the House, made the remark shortly after voting during the state local government election on Saturday at St. George’s Primary School, Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA.
While speaking with newsmen, Yishawu, who is the chairman House committee on Budget and Economic Planning, said people needed more enlightenent in exercising their right to vote.
He expressed satisfaction with the voting process, saying the most important thing is to have free, fair and credible polls.
According to him, “The most important thing is to have free, fair and transparent process. You can see that the process is credible, that is what we have all around.
“We urge everybody to exercise their right by voting because this is the grassroots election.”
While commenting on late arrival of LASIEC officials, he said, “Those who have left, have come back. I also waited and now I have voted.”
He explained that it was always difficult to have 100 percent turn out of voters, noting “if you look around the world, people that come to vote are between 30 to 40 percent.
He however stated, “The level of awareness here is very low. The solution to having low turn out is to continue to englighten the people.”
Checks revealed that in Maryland area of Lagos there was poor turnout of voters, but there was appreciable and improved number of voter turnout in such areas as Mushin, Ejigbo, Agege, which is the stronghold of the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa.
In Ojodu, where member of the House of Representatives, Mr. James Faleke is the leader, the voters turnout was poor. This also applied to the largest local government area in the state, Alimosho, where the Minister of the Interior, holds sway as leader.
On Lagos Island, many people stayed indoor and young men played football on the deserted roads.
It was gathered that was largely low turn out of voters in Eti-Osa local government area of the State.
Security was good as there were no reports of breakdown of law and order.