The much anticipated council polls in Lagos has come and gone with the recent oath of office administered on the winners of the available 57 seats – all from the All Progressives Congress (APC) – by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
However, the lessons learnt from the elections will forever remain with us as they will continue to shape happenings and governance across communities in the state for the nearest future.
It is noteworthy that while the electioneering campaign by candidates commenced following the release of Election Guidelines by the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), InsideMainland consistently reported activities relating to the election from political parties to rallies, opinion polls, including exclusive interviews with aspirants and electoral officials among several others.
In one of the InsideMainland polls ahead of the LG elections, it was shocking to note that Mainlanders clearly stated they would not vote during the exercise as the top party chieftains clearly knows and can determine who wins what in the elections.
The decision however came into fruition as majority of registered shunned the Saturday, July 22, 2017, council elections organized by LASIEC. Aside this, below are the major takeouts from the recently concluded elections with the ruling party, APC claiming all the available 57 council Chairmanship seats and 369 from the available 376 Councilorship seats.
Majority of registered voters shunned the election
The election was clearly characterised by a low turnout of voters as political agents and their canvassers moved from house to house to get registered voters to vote in the polls. This was because residents who were duly registered and own Permanent Voter cards (PVCs) used during the polls refused to turn out at the polling units.
The old ones voted more than the youths
For an exercise that lasted more than seven hours, the percentage of the elderly ones who voted and waited patiently for the announcement of results across the polling units clearly overshadows the young folks who actively argued for youth involvement in politics and governance.
This clearly indicates that the youths who would scream foul when things go wrong did not take the LG polls serious in this part of the world.
Residents across Meiran in Agbado – Oke Odo LCDA, Ifako Ijaiye, Ogba, Ojodu, Ikorodu, Abule Egba and Alimosho areas of the state will attest to it that the elderly ones turned out at the voting centers than the young ones.
Twitter NG didn’t vote
Twitter Nigeria, the most vocal platform populated by youths across the state and country at large refused to vote in the elections. Rather, majority of its users who are mainly youths across who fit into the approved voting age appeared to have gone missing as they mostly searched trending hash tags and jumped on conversations online rather than proceed to polling units around them to vote.
Twitter NG blames the older generation in government but were not ready to do things right by taking active role in the elections.
Mainlanders defied flood to vote
Mainlanders and other residents who turned out to exercise their franchise during the polls deserve kudos for their brave actions. This is as a result of the torrential rainfall before and during the voting exercise witnessed across the state.
In addition, residents of Surulere were most hit on the election day as most of the community was immersed in water owing to the heavy rainfall.
LASIEC needs to improve
While winners celebrated the efforts of the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), the candidates who were in the losing camp will say otherwise. This is due to some management faults from the commission that needed improvement for future purposes.
During the just concluded elections, residents across Ikorodu, Abule Egba, Agbado Oke Odo, Ojodu, Lagos Island, and more complained about the late arrival election officials and absence of ballot papers in some communities. The situation almost got out of hand at Meiran 048, 049 and 049a where the polling units are meters away from each other. With election ongoing at Pus 049 and 049a, voters were left stranded at PU 048 due to unavailability of ballot papers. This however infuriated political leaders in the affected PU and they grounded the exercise ongoing in the other Pus.
It took the prompt intervention of a gallant police officer attached to PU 049a to douse the tension before the arrival f ballot papers for the affected PU.
With this in mind, it is imperative that the Commission address the issues relating to dispatching of election materials as well and safety of officials who will handle the exercise.
Candidates didn’t realise their aspirations
With less than 24 hours to the polls, some influential figures in politics in Lagos state died to the shock of many of their followers. The most affected party is the All Progressives Congress (APC) who lost three members before the elections.
The deaths include that of Mr. Shakiru Balogun aka SAB, the APC Chairmanship candidate for Ikotun/Igando Local Council Development Area who died in a ghastly motor accident few hours to the polls. Also, Emmanuel Uba, the APC Youth Chairman in Amuwo – Odofin was reportedly shot dead by assailants around 10:00pm on the eve of the electins.
Another individual who didn’t witness the success of his party in the polls is the party chieftain of the APC in Itire – Ikate LCDA. He reportedly died few hours after suffering total paralysis while in company of his party faithful, InsideMainland learnt.
Highest voting LG
The LG where the highest number of votes was recorded during the just concluded elections is the Epe Local Government. Observers say this might be connected to the fact that the state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode is from the area considering how voters shunned the elections across parts of Lagos.
It significant to note that Alimosho, the most populated area in Lagos recorded some of the least number of votes cast with a total number of 8,336 votes from four political parties.
Political violence and thuggery
Although it was suppressed due to the brave efforts of security operatives, there was still disruption of activities across some LGs as a result of political thugs who took it upon themselves to frustrate the efforts of the Commission saddled with staging the polls.
For instance, it took the intervention of the Sole Administrator of Agege LG, Hon. Gbenga Abiola who called for Police back up when political thugs attacked the dispatch vehicle used by LASIEC just in front of the LG secretariat in Agege. Also, gang clashes were reported in Odi – Olowo, Mushin and Ikosi Isheri where some APC were also involved in a clash that almost ruined the elections in the axis.
More protest from aggrieved parties
Following the happenings before, during and after the elections, more political parties are expected to air their grievances through protest march, petitions or even court suits. This is evident in the recent protest march by the Accord Party led by a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dauda Kako Are. The protesters, who walked partly naked on the streets of Lagos and back to the party’s office in Ilupeju were accompanied by candidates of the party in the election including Hon. Owolabi Taiwo, Hon, Akeem Olusekun, Hon. Salaudeen Arisekola, among others.
It is expected that more of such will continue to happen in the coming days even after the newly elected council Chairmen across the 57 LGs and LCDAs have been sworn into office.
Some voters do not know their representatives
While some of the candidates rode on their popularity in their immediate communities to gather votes, InsideMainland can reliably report that majority of the voters know little or nothing about the candidates who aspired to run affairs in their various communities.
This indicates a disconnect between those handling affairs in the LGs and those they intend to rule.