Violence in Mushin, Oshodi, Ajegunl
Downpour hinders voters as candidate dies on eve of election
By Emmanuel Aziken, Evelyn Usman, Olasunkanmi Akoni, Dapo Akinrefon, Charles Kumolu, Gbenga Oke, Ebunoluwa Sessou, Monsurudeen Olowoopejo and Joseph Undu
The heavens opened on Lagos, yesterday morning, forcing majority of Lagosians to stay away from the local government elections. That, however, did not stop the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, from enforcing its dominance of the political space as the party was in clear lead in most of the centres where the elections held.
The APC’s prospects in the heavily populated Ikotun/Igando Local Council Development Area were, however, unclear last night following the death, in a motor accident, of Sakiru Balogun, a chairmanship contender for that area.
The early morning downpour, which delayed the distribution of election materials and officials to designated polling units subsequently eased to intermittent showers for most of the day, leading to heavy flooding in some sections of the state.
The intermittent rain, however, did not stop sporadic outburst of violence and election malpractice in some areas of the city. Particularly affected were Mushin, Oshodi, and Ajegunle.
The contest to produce chairmen for the 20 local government areas and 37 development areas and councillors in the 376 wards of the state was a fierce contest between the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, whose candidates, in many cases, wore the garb of Labour Party following the crisis in the PDP that foreshadowed the enlistment of candidates for the elections.
Accord Party and All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, were also engaged in pitch electoral battles with the APC in some areas of the state.
A policeman and two thugs were arrested in Agege with election materials. The recovered materials included ballot boxes, thumb printed ballot papers, and several ballot papers.
The policeman, a corporal, as gathered, was escorting political thugs to an unknown destination when they were accosted by other policemen. Upon interrogation, he could reportedly not give a satisfactory response to questions posed to him. Those he was accompanying were discovered to be fake officials of the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, LASIEC. They were subsequently apprehended with the recovered materials and taken to Area ‘G’ Command, Ogba.
Five other persons were also arrested for various election offences at Ikeja area of the state.
In Mushin, officials of LASIEC were attacked by thugs along Post Office Road, in an attempt to snatch election materials being conveyed to polling units. The thugs were said to have fired sporadically, which alerted policemen stationed nearby. The intervention of the Police foiled their attempt as they fled on sighting the Police.
Also, at Martins Street, Mushin, rival miscreants engaged in a free-for-all fight, following attempt by one of the groups to snatch election materials. The intervention of policemen attached to the Rapid Response Squad also foiled the attempt.
At Mushin Ward, BI, Oduolowo LCDA, officials of Accord Party, alleged that thugs attacked some of its members and snatched two ballot boxes.
Voters at Saint Matins Secondary School, Adeleye also claimed that they were attacked by thugs loyal to a major political party who forced them to vote for their party.
There were also reports of snatching of ballot boxes in Oshodi and Mafoluku areas of the state.
Ballot boxes were also snatched as voting commenced at Ward B at Oduduwa and Goriola Streets in Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area.
An eyewitness told Sunday Vanguard that persons suspected to be political thugs stormed the polling unit and took away ballot boxes while voting was ongoing .
However, election did not hold at Home Valley Estate Community Development Area, CDA off Sewage Road, Jakande Estate in Oke-Afa as neither election officials nor voters could access polling units in the area.
Among the affected streets were Azombe, Vine Yard Road, Sam Chuks Street, Esther Ibekwe, Ase, Babatunde Shogbesan, Alhaji Jubril, KC Emmanuel, and Fatunbi Streets.
Angry residents who spoke from their open windows and balconies, instead of voting, tried to secure their properties including cars which were being moved by the flood. Some of the residents asked for canoes to ferry them to polling units.
APC leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, nevertheless praised voters for coming out saying that it showed the enhancement of democracy in the national space.
The former governor of Lagos State, who spoke with newsmen after casting his vote at exactly 12.15 p.m. at his polling unit, 026, Ward F, Ikeja Local Government, said that the internal competition for the ticket of the APC showed the popularity of the party. He said the brickbats that followed the APC primary would not affect the chances of APC winning the council polls.
“You must have the competitiveness, if you are a popular political party. There is no way you won’t face the turbulence of democracy – the twists and turns and the complaints. Our democracy is actually moving forward.”
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who voted at 9.45 a.m. at Ogunmodede Junior and Senior College in Papa Epe, praised the conduct of the election. The results of the election in his unit subsequently showed that the APC won
The results showed that the APC polled a total of 299 votes for the Chairmanship election against the Labour Party’s zero vote in the unit by the PDP and Accord Party.
For the councillorship election in the unit, the APC polled a total of 293 votes as against one polled by Labour Party and zero polled by PDP.
The PDP has, however, faulted the conduct of the election saying it showed the desperation of the APC in its ramifications.
Reacting, spokesperson for the Lagos State chapter of PDP, Barrister Taofik Gani, said: “We are not surprised that the results we are getting now show that they (APC) are leading. We are calling for a total cancellation of the elections in Oshodi; there should be cancellation of this result. The APC has shown desperation, and they have manifested this beyond reasonable doubt”, he said.