Local Govt Polls: Why Ogun State Residents Refused To Vote
Huhuonline.com can disclose that despite Saturday's peaceful elections in the 20 Local Government councils in Ogun State, the council polls recorded serious voter apathy leading to low turnout of voters in protest against the State Governor, Ibikunle
Governor Amosun had been accused of imposing his cronies on the party, against the wish of party chieftains, including former Governor Olusegun Osoba. The situation, according to dependable sources, has also led to the current frosty relationship between Amosun and the Deputy Governor of the state, Prince Segun Adesegun.
Huhuonline.com investigation proved that most of the registered voters in the state remained indoors as a result of the restriction on movement, while others were engaged in their business and social activities.
However, electoral officers were spotted at the various polling units loitering about in the absence of electorates. Some of them who spoke with Huhuonline.com lamented the poor turnout, confirming that the residents refused to come out to exercise their legitimate voting rights.
"In this unit, I have 725 registered voters, but those who actually voted were just 105 people. So you can see the level of apathy the people have towards this Local Government election," said one of the agents at a polling unit located in Abeokuta North Local Government Area.
Meanwhile, those who turned up for the election complained that their names were missing from the register. This was confirmed by top officials of the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC) who immediately provided alternative arrangement for those whose names were missing to vote.
Governor Amosun, who got accredited at 9.45 am in his Ward 11, Unit 12, Ita-Iyalode polling centre in Abeokuta, also confirmed the poor turn-out and putting the figure that actually came out to vote at 25 per cent.
The Governor, who lamented the situation, said: "If you look at our registration in this polling unit, we have about 25 per cent of those that registered...Fillers from most of other areas show the same thing, particularly in Ogun Central Senatorial District."
He further attributed the challenges that befell the OGSIEC to logistic problem, stressing that the turn-out was not good enough as the election was almost marred and leading to late accreditation.
But some of the residents alleged that the State Governor was responsible for the voters' apathy after he had imposed his candidates on the party and asked the OGSIEC to throw out the candidates nominated by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
Huhuonline.com learnt that all the chairmanship candidates on the platform of the party came with the Governor when he defected from the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).
'Just two days before the election, the Governor decided to placate them by imposing them on both the party and residents of the State, many of whom said they were not voting because they did not know the candidates.
"They had only Friday to campaign. Is that the way to practise democracy? The party had come out with a list of nominated candidates for chairmanship position since on the 15th of July 1950 and had submitted it to the OGSIEC. But the Governor went behind us and foisted his candidates on the party. The genuine candidates have gone to court and rather than for the electoral umpire to wait for the outcome of the suit which is already in court, it ordered that the election must hold.
"He should have been patient because, now, to many of us, he has soiled the integrity of the body," said Samson Ajanaku.
Recall that the original list of candidates for the local government election was sent by the ACN State Secretary, Alhaji Abimbola Awofeso, on July 15, through a letter addressed to OGSIEC. Awofeso stressed that the candidates were endorsed at the party's enlarged State Executive Committee meeting held on May 31, 2012 giving their names as Isaq Adesanya (Abeokuta North), Moshood Akinyele (Abeokuta South), Musiliu Akindele (Odeda), Folorunso Sotubo (Sagamu), Tajudeen Odumade (IjebuNorth_East), Wale Balogun (Ijebu North), Nathaniel Sodipo (Ewekoro), Soliu Falade (Ipokia), Abiodun Oluwaseun (Obafemi Owode) and Olaotan Odunayo (Yewa South), Gabriel Falola (Yewa North), Sunday Bankole (Ifo), Shamsudeen Onanuga (Ijebu_Ode), Dumosu Adebanjo (Odogbolu), Omotayo Olusegun (Ijebu East), Samuel Idowu (Remo North), Isiaka Ojuroye (Ikenne), Ismaila Sanusi (Imeko Afon), Sunday Onanuga (Ogun Waterside) and Mustapha Kunle (Ado_Odo/Ota).
However, names sent by the Governor included Taofik Olabode(Abeokuta North), Lanre Edun (Abeokuta South), Sulaiman Adebayo (Odeda), Funmi Efuwape(Sagamu), Femi Odufowokon (Ijebu North-East), Laide Osifeso (Ijebu North), Dele Soluade(Ewekoro), Isiak Aderounmu (Ipokia), Nurudeen Diyaolu (Obafemi Owode) and Shafiu Odebiyi (Yewa South). The others are Tajudeen Amoo (Yewa North), Oluwole Enilolobo (Ifo), Oluwakemi Rasaq Dada (Ijebu_Ode), Olawale Shittu (Odogbolu), Dare Ogunde (Ijebu East), Olufemi Abayomi Soyemi (Remo North), Tajudeen Salako (Ikenne), Ajani Ayilara (Imeko Afon), Tunde Rufai (OgunWaterside) and Rotimi Ramon (Ado-Odo/Ota).
Party chieftains alleged that despite the fact that the members of the party continued to protest this alleged imposition, especially as the residents claim they do not know the candidates, the Governor went ahead to campaign for them just as they residents further believe the Governor did this to spite Osoba.
The Governor's action, according to sources, is part of the reasons the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the exercise as marred with irregularities.
Ogun state PDP Chairman, Ireti Oliyide, claimed that ballot papers had been thumb-printed since Friday and what happened Saturday was just a cover up.
Expressing displeasure at the exercise, the PDP chairman said over 10 councillorship candidates of the party were delisted without prior information to the party at Odogbolu. He also claimed that Form EC8 (1) in which the election result was supposed to be recorded was not available in most of the polling centres in the State.