By Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
Political parties in the Ife Central House of Assembly bye election, yesterday expressed concern over the low turnout of voters in the election.
However, the three main candidates, Prince Adetilewa Sijuwade of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Dipo Eluwole of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Olusegun Ayodele Fanibe of Accord Party, expressed satisfaction with the conduct of electoral officers and security agents.
The election was held to fill the vacant seat in the state House of Assembly following the death of PDP member, Oladejo Makinde.
Fanibe expressed optimism in his party’s victory, saying “something is about to change in Ile-Ife as people have determined to choose instead of allowing the giant to choose for them.
Eluwole lauded the Independent National Electoral Commission for the measure put in place to ensure adequate distribution of electoral materials.
He complained about security agents saying “though they are patrolling, we don’t feel their presence in some polling units especially in my unit, Akodi Faloyin unit 09, there is no presence of security but no violence was recorded.
Also, Sijuwade expressed satisfaction in the conduct of the election, maintaining that his party has done the necessary thing to ensure its success in the election.
General observation revealed that voters did not turn out for the election as visits to some polling units showed that electoral officers were still waiting for voters till 9.00a.m.
When our correspondent visited Ajebamidele Falaju Bus Stop, Unit 12, INEC, Open Space, Mayfair Junction, Iremo 11, Unit 01A and B, New Garage, Iremo /Ajebamidele Unit 001, accreditation and voting were yet to commence.
Former Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Prince Sikiru Ayedun, stated that only core party men and some interested people usually voted in bye-election, noting that the turnout was poor.
He said the turnout was poor because of some people’s belief that the electoral system has been corrupted and people no longer believe in the counting of their votes.
Former Special Adviser to Governor Rauf Aregbesola on Sports and Special Needs, Biyi Odunlade, complained about the turnout as he commended INEC for creating enabling environment for electorate to exercise their rights.
According to him, the early arrival of electoral officers at the polling centres had helped the process in no small way.
However, the Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Mr. Olusola Ayodele, commended the exercise and described it as “peaceful”.