….As Sanwo-Olu preaches against aparthy, harps on advocacy
…Electorate needs more enlightenment, lawmaker
In an unprecedented record, former Governors of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, his successors, Babatunde Fashola, and Akinwumi Ambode, were absent at their polling units during the Saturday, Local Government elections across the state.
Our correspondents’ checks across the state revealed a low turnout of voters at polling units, while roads were deserted with businesses shut.
Journalists who trooped out to unit 047 unit, ward 3, Alausa, Ikeja Local Government Area, where Tinubu usually cast his vote, were disappointed when one of the APC leaders in the area announced that the former Governor would not be voting as he was not in town.
As at the time of filing this report, 1 pm, Fashola was yet to cast his vote at the polling Unit 002 State Junior Grammar School, Eric Moore with Reg. Area 09 Iponri Housing Estate/Eric Moore, Surulere Local Government Area, Lagos.
The same was the case at Ward A5 polling unit 033, Ogunmodede College, Papa, Epe area where Ambode always cast his vote.
The reasons for the absence of the trio were still sketchy at press time.
Meantime, incumbent Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, after over two hours of delay, due to the late arrival of Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, LASIEC, officials, cast his vote alongside his wife,
Dr. Ibijoke at Ward E, unit 019, Femi Okunnu/Lateef Jakande Avenue, Ikoyi, Eti-Osa LGA, Lagos.
Speaking to newsmen after casting his vote, Sanwo-Olu, described the exercise as general calm, and peaceful but scored the turn out low.
The governor and his wife arrived at the venue at 11:03.
Though there was the late arrival of materials at the four polling units he had visited, the governor said the election offered residents the opportunity to exercise their franchise by voting their preferred candidate.
Sanwo-Olu said, “I have noticed about four polling booths. I would not say they were crowded polling booths but all went on peacefully.
“Report I have gotten so far in the last two hours is that things are going as expected. There could be a 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,” the governor said.
He added: “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.”
The governor also said the construction of the Lateef Jakande 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-out local governments.
“The whole idea around governance is to improve the life of our people and I am sure that we would continue.”
Also, a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Gbolahan Yishawu advised residents to always come out and exercise their franchise, saying the grassroots election is the most critical in electioneering.
Yishawu, representing Eti-Osa Constituency II, remarked shortly after voting at St. Geogies Primary School, Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA.
The presiding officer at polling unit 003, ward 08, is Mrs Samuel Mary Kelechi.
Yishawu, who is the chairman House Committee on Budget and Economic Planning, said people required more enlightenment in exercising their right to vote.
However, 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 a 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 the late arrival of LASIEC officials, he said, “Those who have left, have come back. I also waited and now I have voted.”
Yishawu explained that it is always difficult to have a 100 per cent turn out of voters at any given election, noting “if you look around the world, people that come to vote are between 30 to 40 per cent.
He, however, stated, “the level of awareness here is very low. The solution to having low turn out is to continue to enlighten the people.”