Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The local government elections conducted in Ekiti State yesterday were greeted with low turnout of voters just as the polls were largely adjudged violent-free across the 2,195 polling units in the state by the electorate.
Despite the early morning glitches in some areas like Ado, Ikere, Otun, Igbara Odo, Aramoko, Efon and others, which caused delay in the commencement of the process, the elections later commenced with security agencies on guard to provide adequate security for the SIEC ad hoc staff and voters.
The restriction of movement between 8a.m. and 2p.m. announced by the state government and the police was largely ineffective as motorists and motorcyclists were seen moving around Ado Ekiti City and other towns visited by THISDAY.
At the popular Oja Oba, Oja Irona and Oja Enu Odi markets in Ado Ekiti, traders were seen doing their businesses unhindered while commercial motorcyclists were seen doing skeletal works across the capital city.
Some shops and filling stations in the capital city and other towns also opened for business activities as the polls lasted.
The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Hon. Biodun Oyebanji voted at Oke Lele ward 06 unit 003 in Ikogosi Ekiti, Ekiti West Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
Oyebanji praised the voters for coming out to perform their civic obligation and for their peaceful dispositions.
“Local government election is very critical to the survival of any democracy, because it is the closest to the people. I commend my people for taking interest in this election and I want the electoral officers to do what is right and allow the votes of the electorate to count”.
Speaking while monitoring the polls, the Chairman, House of Assembly Committee on the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC), Hon. Toyin Lucas, said the low turnout of voters did not vitiate the outcome as long as the process remains peaceful and credible.
He also ascribed the free movements of human and vehicles to the ongoing November National Examinations Council (NECO) being undertaken by some candidates, saying such people can’t be restricted, since it is being held across the nation.
“We have low turnout in the morning and you could all see that the process is improving. People are coming out gradually to vote. The process has been peaceful, without any rancour or crisis despite that six political parties are contesting these elections. The party agents are on ground without molestation.
“The people that are moving around are those with genuine reasons. Some students are writing NECO examinations and those on essential duties as well as those who are going far away to cast their votes, are allowed to move freely despite the restriction.”
Lucas added that the elections are of utmost importance to the people, because the local governments are the closest to the grassroots, coupled with the enthusiasm that accompanies the creation of new Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) by the APC-led government.