Low turnout of voters across the five local government areas marred Saturday’s Lagos East By-elections.
In several polling units visited by BusinessDay voting commenced late due to late delivery of election materials, this is despite assurances by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that it was fully prepared for the election.
By 12-30pm several polling units in Ikosi/Isheri LGA, Somolu, Kosofe had few numbers of voters except the presence of INEC officials and security agencies.
In ward 4 in Ikosi/Isheri which had about 500 registered voters only 20 people had voted around 1pm, despite the arrival of election materials and INEC officials by 9:30am.
Some of the residents of the area who spoke to journalists said they were unaware of the election, they accused the candidates and political parties of not campaigning nor informing them about the election.
Jhon Olomade, teacher, resident of Ikosi said he refused to come out to vote because he was not aware of the candidates and their agenda for the people while adding that the system did not also encourage him to vote because his vote may not change anything.
“Well, I only heard yesterday that there was an election in this area for the senate and House of Assembly but I don’t know the candidates that are part of the reason I am not voting. Another reason is that my vote may not count; what is an assurance that if I vote it would count just like in the past? The parties here think they can win even without our vote,” Olomade said.
There are similar reports of the low turnout of voters in several polling units, late arrival of election materials in Somolu, Kosofe, and Ikorodu.
In a telephone interview with BusinessDay, Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, Funsho Ologunde said the party was optimistic of emerging victorious and winning both seats, adding that the party candidates did their best campaigning across the constituency.
“Well have you gone everywhere to say there is Low turnout? In every election there must be a winner and loser; we are sure of our APC candidates emerging victorious after the elections.
“I can say our candidates did their best, they campaigned across the constituency”, Ologunde said.
Candidates from 12 political parties are contesting in the Lagos East Senatorial by-election, while eight candidates will be contesting the Kosofe Constituency II, Lagos State House of Assembly by-election.
The by-elections were necessitated after the demise of the lawmakers earlier in the year.