Since the local government elections we reconducted in Lagos State, there have been mixed reactions as to what would be the outcome.
The result of the announced election did not favour some set of politicians. Right now, there are accusations of irregularities which candidates said hampered the success of the election.
In ward H at Itire area of Mushin, Lagos, the councillorship candidate Fatia Oloruntele Bodunrin a.k.a Babalawo who came under the umbrella of People’s Democratic Party, PDP said, “there was election conducted in my area and there was a large turnout and I won the post of councillorship in my area but I didn’t know why they said the election is inconclusive.
“My people wanted me and that is why they voted for me. I didn’t impose myself on them. They know how committed I am in discharging my duty. I was happy that it was a peaceful election, little did I knew that I was going to be denied my victory. I don’t know why such should happen. I haven’t been experiencing this problem until today. ACN has been winning in ward H and this is the first time PDP will be winning.
I am assuring my people that I will not go for any re-run election. I won this election and there is no reason why I should go for re-run. The relationship between the incumbent councillor and us is cordial, and therefore I don’t see reason why this type of issue should come up.”
Also, Hon. Femi Taylor, PDP councillorship candidate, ward G, Mushin said, “I believe that ACN is not a party. It is a party of rigging and manipulation of results. There was a situation where a police officer thumbprinted on five ballot papers for ACN, that explains how desperate this party is. This is my second time. “
Giving an eye witness account, the returnee officer Florence Balogun, for PDP in ward H, Mushin local government said, “After the election, everything was collated in the presence of everybody and this sheet was handed over to me by the returnee officer of LASIEC which was signed by him.
ACN had 1157 while PDP had 1365 for councillor It was duly signed in the presence of both councillors. The copy was handed over to me while the councillor for PDP got his own copy but ACN didn’t but it doesn’t invalidate the result.
“To our utmost surprise, they said the election in ward H was inconclusive and that was confirmed by LASEIC. The name of the officer is Ogunwole Saheed. We don’t understand what they mean by inconclusiveness. In other words, we were told that ACN won in nine wards but the 10thth ward is inconclusive. We don’t agree that ACN won in other wards and we are going to the tribunal. There are manipulations and irregularities.
“When the election was coming up. The atmosphere was peaceful and and police were on ground. We don’t know why LASEIC said the election was inconclusive.”
Asked how she can relate such problem to Nigerian politics today, she said, “Such practise can only be called daylight robbery. If an election is concluded and duly signed by a LASEIC returnee officer and handed over to me in the presence of everybody, yet it is reported that the election is inconclusive, it is bad. Our people do not want crisis and we have been doing everything to convince them. There is no date for the re-run.”
Asubiojo Oladimeji Afolabi, Concerned youth in Itire/Mushin Local government and member PDP said, prior to the last election which took place at ward H at the collation centre Adeniyi primary school, itire, we witnessed a fair and peaceful election without any form of rigging, there was no violence, riot or disputes amongst the people.
“As member of PDP, we were going round (ward rounding) from one polling unit to another, making sure that proper rules were followed by LASEIC and to make sure that all the candidates were on-line to vote.
“Some of the LASIEC officials came late which hampered early commencement of the programme while in some places, others came early. And we had issues with some of them trying to do accreditation and voting at the same time but we made them understand that it was a wrong idea; that they should follow due process. The due process was that the accreditation was made to stop at 12 pm while voting should commence immediately after accreditation. Tt the end of the day, we were able to go round all the polling unit and there was no form of rigging or election manipulation of figures. But after the exercise, we were hoping that a certificate would be issued and official announcement made as regards the winner of the election. But to our surprise, they said they are going to re-run the election. We were so much concerned to know on what basis will the election be re-run. We want to know why they want to re-run the election. PDP won the election with an obvious margin because I was privileged to be with the LASIEC officials and the police officers.
There were two parties in all. So, we had issues with LASEIC officers for refusing us to count the chairmanship ballot papers. He said it had to be done at the secretariat which we don’t know why and this was late in the night. We questioned the officer in-charge but they were unable to give us a cogent reason for that. At the end, we were denied the privilege to go with them. They instructed us to choose a representative which we did and I wasn’t the returning officer. We were communicating on phone and we were told that they had documented for councillorship election and yet to give us figures for chairmanship election. There was no news throughout the weekend and on Monday, we heard news that the chairmanship election had been given to ACN and that there will be a re-run for councillorship. So, we want to know why they should be a re-run or was there a form of rigging? And according to rumour , some people are coming to the community to disrupt the next fixed date for the election. People (PDP members) are living in fear and this could disturb them from coming out en-mass which we had earlier.
Asked if there was a large turn-out, he said, there was. “A lot of people came out to express their feelings towards the actual person that the community wanted. They came out because they felt that was the credible person they could work with. Prior to the election, we have sensitised people of how to choose the right person.
There is no reason given to us on why there will be a re-run. They are doing this without our consent. They have not given date for the re-run. As a matter of fact, I am in darkness to know what is happening. I want to know if there is rule of law in this country. I want to know why someone somewhere will decide not to do things the proper way. I don’t see what is wrong with that election and for the first time in my life, I have heard about late Chief MKO’s election and other elections in the country, and for the first time, that was the first election that I will witness without any trouble or any form of rigging and as a matter of fact, there was no lobbying. I want to know why such an election will be nullified without cogent reasons. One of the concerned youths of Itire local government, Abayomi Obayomi said, the “election was free and fair.”