Local government and House of Representatives bye-elections in Lagos and Gombe states respectively recorded low turnout yesterday.
The exercise was generally peaceful devoid of rancour and violence that charaterised elections in the country.
Voting however commenced some hours behind schedule in most of the polling units visited owing to the late arrival of voting ballots from the Lagos State Electoral Commission (LASIEC).
Owing to heavy downpour, collation of results in most of the local government council secretariats could not commence on time.
However roads were deserted by the people heeding the directive of the state government restricting movement across the state during the period of the exercise, which was between 7am and 4pm when voting was scheduled to close.
Major roads like Ikorordu Road, Awolowo Way, Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Agege Motorway, Oba Akran Avenue and Kudirat Abiola Way were a ghost of their usual selves as vehicular movement was limited to those on essential services.
Children were seen playing football on some inner-city roads just as shops were closed to business activities. Policemen also mounted checkpoints on major roads to forestall a breakdown of law and order.
Our correspondents who monitored the polls in Ibeju-Lekki, Ikorodu and Kosofe, Ifako-Ijaye, Ikeja local government areas, said the situation remained largely the same with security personnel deployed having little or no emergency to deal with.
Other areas visited include Ejigbo, Onigbongbo local council development areas where party agents and officials of LASIEC went about the business of accreditation and actual voting of eligible voters without any hindrance.
At Ibeju-Lakki, voters were seen awaiting the arrival of materials and personnel at about 8am but the exercise peaked about 8:30am when the few accredited voters took turns to cast their ballot in virtually all the polling units and wards.
At about 11:45am, Senator Gbenga Ashafa representing the Lagos East Senatorial district at was seen casting his ballot at Unit 6, located in Bogije area of Ward G.
Speaking shortly afterwards, Ashafa commended the peaceful conduct of the polls in the state, saying such conduct would be replicated in subsequent elections.
He used the occasion to call on the people of the state to avail themselves of the windows provided by the decision of the National Assembly to effect amendment of the 1999 Constitution to press for the listing of the 37 local council development areas.
“I am quite impressed with the conduct of our people so far. They have demonstrated their very peaceful nature in the way they have come out to exercise their rights to elect their leaders.
The situation was slightly different in Ward A, Ifako-Ijaye LGA, as party officials went from house to house to mobilize voters to come out and vote.
Unlike in Ibeju-Lekki, LASIEC officials arrived on time at most of the polling stations with some of the voters attributing the low turnout to inadequate electioneering by the parties involved.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives bye-election in Balanga/Billir, Federal Constituency of Gombe State was conducted peacefully within the areas, but the turnout was very low in almost every polling unit. One exception is Swa, a polling unit in Balanga local government area, where the turnout was high.
LEADERSHIP SUNDAY, went round to monitor the situation within the election areas and discovered that the voting materials arrived in good time and accreditation started at exactly 8am, while voting commenced around noon.
The security people were seen in almost every registration area. However, as at the time of filing this report, voting was still on. Some polling units were still submitting their results to the collation centre in Billiri local government area of Gombe State.