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Low Voter Turnout in Lagos as Abiru Leads by Wide Margin
•Bauchi PDP accuses APC of using federal might
Segun James in Lagos and Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
Yesterday’s bye-elections in Lagos East senatorial district and Kosofe State Constituency II were typified by voter apathy, even though the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Lagos East senatorial poll, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru, led by a wide margin.
As at press time he had recorded an impressive vote tally of 69,800 while his closest rival, Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) candidate, Mr. Babatunde Gbadamosi was at a distant 8,391 votes.
However, in Bauchi State, the ruling PDP accused the opposition APC in the state of using federal might to harass and intimidate its members as part of moves to upturn Dass State Constituency election results.
Across the five divisions of the Lagos East district, the electorate simply went about their normal activities with complete disregard to the election or movement restrictions placed by the government.
Frustrated by the development, Lagos State Commissioner for Police, Hakeem Odumosu personally arrested over 30 vehicles that defied the no movement order along Mile 12 Ikorodu Expressway at about noon.
Odumosu and his men were miffed that citizens could not obey simple order of stay at home within the specified period that the bye-election was held.
PDP’s senatorial candidate, Gbadamosi, cast his vote at 9:40 am at his Isele 1, Ward A1, Booth 014, Ayangburen, Ikorodu, and expressed dissatisfaction over the low turn out of voters.
But while Gbadamosi voted easily, the situation was not the same for his APC opponent, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru, who couldn’t cast his vote.
Chairman of Abiru’s campaign organisation, Chief Kaoli Olusanya, told some media men that his candidate would address the media after the election.
Majority Leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, who cast his vote at polling CAC junction of the Ikorodu, also commended the exercise, although expressed concern about the low turnout.
“I arrived my polling booth at CAC Junction (043) to vote. The process was smooth and seamless. Kudos to the INEC for a job well done, so far! Please, my people, let’s all come out to vote and remain peaceful throughout,” he pleaded.
Similarly, the Managing Director, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Senator Gbenga Ashafa, while casting his vote in Ibeju Lekki, appealed to the electorate to take the issue of voting seriously as something that has direct impact on their lives.
In like manner, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, expressed satisfaction over the conduct of the bye-elections.
Hamzat, who cast his vote at Ward A4, Oke Balogun, Epe, around 11:20 am, also commended the electorate for their peaceful conduct.
He also commended the security agents for their vigilance and professional conducts in the Epe Division.
“This election is very smooth and peaceful. I commend our people for their determination. I also commend our security agents for how they conducted themselves. They demonstrated high level of professionalism,” he said.
Meanwhile, reports garnered across the state showed that Abiru led in practically all the polling units, with the PDP candidate trailing behind with abysmal margin.
Although INEC has not officially released any of the results in the Lagos election, the unofficial results picked up from the various units and wards showed that the APC candidate led with huge margins.
In Bauchi, Adamu Haruna, one of the leaders of the PDP in Dass, who spoke to journalists at the Dass Police Division, alleged that the APC, knowing that it would not win the bye-election, resorted to using its members at the national level to truncate the peaceful conduct of the exercise.
He alleged that a list of prominent people in the Local Government Area, who are members of the PDP was drawn and handed over to security agents for arrest and incarceration under trumped up charges till the end of the exercise.
He cited the arrest of Adon Dalla Gin and Mrs. Yashi by security operatives under the pretence of vote buying as one of the grand plans to frustrate the PDP.
Corroborating the development, Council Chairman of Dass LGA, Mohammed Suleiman said, “Since yesterday (Friday) our members have been subjected to series of harassment and intimidation by security operatives, who stormed the area from Abuja.
“As you can see, we are here to secure the release of one of our party leaders, who was arrested for the allegation of vote buying while voting at the Social Welfare polling unit in Bundot ward of the LGA,” he said.
The Council Chairman, however, added that, “Abdon Gin cast his vote, spoke to journalists and left the voting area. He was in his car about leaving, when the security operatives including personnel of the EFCC accosted him, they searched and did not find anything incriminating on him but found some amount in the booth of his car. The money was meant for settlement of PDP agents and other field officials in the ward, where he belonged”.
He expressed confidence that no amount of intimidation and harassment would stop the PDP from winning the election, because according to him, the party was ready for the exercise having campaigned across the LGA.
Mohammed Suleiman also commended INEC for early distribution of election materials saying in areas where there were issues, the political stakeholders came together and amicably resolved the problem.
In a swift reaction to the allegation, State Chairman of APC, Uba Ahmed Nana asked: “Who is intimidating and harassing who? PDP is in power in Bauchi. It has everything in its power to do anything it wants. Our members have witnessed one form of harassment and intimidation or the other in the last one year, yet, we have kept mute.
“What federal might do we have? We only have large followers and supporters across the state. All we want is a free and fair conduct of the election, which we are confident of winning.”
The APC Chairman also commended INEC for what he described as excellent logistical arrangement, which has made the conduct of the election smooth.