LG Polls: Voters claim inadequate awareness of election



Some residents in Lagos on Saturday expressed dissatisfaction with the ongoing local government election, because the restriction of movement came as a surprise to most of them.

Some of them told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that they were of the opinion that the election had been postponed, others had no knowledge of the election at all.

NAN reports that the state had slated July 24, as date for the Local Government polls, to elect councilors and chairmen for the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) in the state.

The state had on July 22, declared that movement would be restricted throughout the state between 8 a.m and 3 p.m on Saturday July 24.

On Saturday, some of the residents, who came out to vote expressed mixed feelings on the election, claiming that, there was insufficient public awareness.

A resident of Oto Awori LCDA, Mr Anayo Nebonta, told NAN that he only “got wind” of the election this morning on his way to his business.

According to him, in the past when such elections were held, it was given wide publicity for every eligible voter to be aware, to come out and exercise their rights.

He, however, expressed dissatisfaction on what he described as “poor publicity” of the ongoing process and urged that it be made better in the future.

“This monring, many Lagos residents were not even aware of this Local Council election, and we were asking ourselves if this election is meant for some segment of the state, because if we are not aware then who are those to cast the votes.

“I had planned my business for today only to be informed of the restriction of movement.

“I advice that in a democratic setting like Nigeria, there should be sufficient publicity, to prepare voters for the exercise.

“This is because, we are the ones to select our leaders,” he said.

“In the same vein, a voter at Ward B Oto Awori, Mr Kehinde Adegoke, told NAN that he was also surprised last night when he learnt that there would be elections this morning.

According to him, on his way to his ward, he also met some residents, who were going about their businesses but were turned back by the police.

Adegoke said ” I will say that some lagosians are not aware that there will be elections today.

“Personally, I will not pretend I had prior knowledge of this election but I got to know during my discussion with friends last night.

“So, this morning, as I was on my way to the ward, I even saw some people who were turned back by the police and one could see that they were going for their respective businesses.

“I really don’t know what happened and how it happened but I think the information on the election did not go round,” he said.

Meanwhile, on her part, Miss Iyabo Oloruntobi, told NAN that when she came out of the house this morning, she was informed by friends that the election had been postponed.

“Infact even me, when I came out this morning, everyone in my area was saying there was nothing like election.

“I went back to my house but later decided to come out again when I discovered no vehicle was moving and I saw some policemen.

“That was what gave me assurance that there will be election,” she said.

On his part, a trailer driver, Mr Rotimi Abiodun, who spoke in Pidgin English, said that although he heard “rumours” about the election, he had been outside his house since 7 a.m, to observe the streets, to know when to go about his business.

“Madam, I have been sitting here since 7 a. m, so am only observing the road and once I get a chance I will drive off, ” he said.

Asked if he would ensure he cast his vote today ?,  he kept mute and walked away.

Meanwhile, at the Oto Awori LCDA, the Electoral Officer in charge, Ms Modupeola Banjo, told NAN that there were five wards in the area, as well as 72 polling units.

She added that election materials had been dispersed while officials were on their way to their various units.

NAN reports that at the time of filing this report from the Oto Awori LCDA, electoral officers had arrived at nine polling units at both ward A and Ward B.

Similarly, in Odi-Olowo LCDA, many of the polling booths at ilupeju, Kayode/Fadeyi had voting materials arriving late.

Several voters in the area complained that they were not previously aware of the election.

“We only knew about this election this  morning,”  they said.

As they continued to complain, some soccer lovers preferred to turn the empty roads into football pitches.