Council polls begin on shaky ground in Ondo

Council polls begin on shaky ground in Ondo

Saturday, August 22, 2020 2:47 pm

The local government elections in Ondo State started late in most polling stations on Saturday, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Voting, billed to start by 8.00 a.m. did not begin as at 9. 30 a.m. in most polling stations visited by NAN correspondents.

The staff of the Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission (ODIEC) were not present at the polling stations, while residents were seen going about their normal daily activities without regard for the election protocols.

In Okitipupa, there was regular pedestrian and vehicular movements and there were no security agents on sight when a NAN correspondent visited two polling units at the New Garage area of the town.

Inter-state commercial vehicles were loading passengers in the garage while private cars and commercial motorcycles were also moving without checks and hindrance.

ODIEC Adhoc staffs were not seen at the two polling units visited and the units were not numbered as it used to be.

Also, there was nothing to show that elections would be held at the units as voters were not seen around the polling units as at the time filling this report.

Some residents, who spoke with NAN, said that there was no election, alleging that the election was for only one political party since other parties had withdrawn.

Mr Olufemi Adeoye, a commercial driver, said it was an APC election and does not have an effect on residents.

“This election is for APC alone because other parties have withdrawn their interest, so it is not binding on anyone except the APC supporters,’’ he said.

Another pedestrian, Mr Koye Olumoroye, said that he was not aware of any election.

He posited that the government was only wasting its time on the election.

“I am not aware of any council election today, so I have to go to where I have scheduled.

“The government is just wasting time,’’ Olumoroye said.

Similarly, visits to Ward 9, Unit 003, Ward 9, Unit 2, Ward 9, Unit 1 and Ward 9, Unit 4, in Oba Ile, Akure North Local Government Area, showed that the election had not started as at 8.40 a.m.

Only two security agents were seen without any official of the ODIEC while there were no visible arrangements for voting at the polling units.

Prospective voters were, however, seen standing in small groups, waiting for the ODIEC officials

Mr Sesan Ogunleye, a resident, told NAN that none availability of the ODIEC officials as at 9.00 a.m. showed that the government did not prepare well for the poll.

The presiding officer at Ward 9, Unit 03, Oba-Ile, who later arrived at 9.00 a.m., explained that the lateness was caused by delay in distribution of election materials.

The officer, who pleaded anonymity, added that ODIEC spokesman was in the best position to explain the cause of the delay.

Also, Mr Festus Elewe, another resident, described the situation as disheartening, saying that the council poll should be a litmus test for the coming gubernatorial election on Oct. 10.

At Ward 2, Unit 9, Sacred Heart Nursery and Primary School in Cathedral area of Akure, voting started as at 9.40 a.m.

The presiding and electoral officers were busy sorting the voting materials.

Bottles of hand sanitisers were seen with them, which they said, would be used by them and the electorates before voting would begin.

There was a low turnout of electorates in cluster groups with no regard for the social distancing protocol while most of them were not wearing face masks.

A moderate level of security from the Police and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps were available at the voting centre.

The streets were devoid of people going to voting centres while some cars and motorcycles were seen moving unhindered.

A church at Adinlewa, bye-pass, was seen conducting a service while some residents were seen buying food condiments at some shops nearby.

NAN reports that residents in Akure metropolis largely complied with the restriction of movement order by the government as there were only a few vehicular and human movement.

Also, shops and businesses, petrol stations and major supermarkets were not open.

Only a few commercial motorcyclists were seen operating while newspaper vendors were also going about their normal businesses.

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