The ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) and 15 other registered parties in the country will today test their popularity among Nigerians in local government elections that will be conducted today in Lagos and Ogun states.
In Lagos State, the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) will be conducting elections into the office of chairman in 20 local government areas and 37 local council development areas while the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC) would conduct elections into the offices of chairmen and councilors in the 20 local government areas of the state.
To this end, election monitoring group, Yiaga Africa, has called on all contesting political parties to abide by the rules governing the conduct of the elections, adding that parties should admonish their supporters to refrain from acts that could jeopardize the process or destabilize public peace.
YIAGA in the pre-election statement on the 2021 Lagos Local Government Council Elections signed by the director of programs, Yiage African Cynthia Mbamalu and board member, Eze Nwagwu, urged the voters to adhere to COVID-19 public health protocols by adhering to all the non-pharmaceutical protocols, including the practice of physical distancing and frequent washing of hands, or use hand sanitisers.
They said, “We call on voters in the 20 LGAs and 37 LCDAs where elections will be conducted to come out in their numbers and elect a representative of their preference. Eligible voters should go out and exercise their franchise, knowing that their votes matter and their votes will count.”
The group urged the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) to ensure early deployment of its personnel and materials to polling units to enable early commencement of polls.
“LASIEC election officials must ensure uniformity of consistency in the application of guidelines across all polling stations. They should provide explicit information on accreditation and voting procedure as well as the result collation process and announcement,” it said.
While urging security agencies to collaborate with the commission to secure election materials, personnel and citizens, YIAGA urged security personnel deployed for the election to conduct themselves with the utmost sense of responsibility, professionalism, and impartiality.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) has said it is fully prepared for the election, just as it said 15 political parties will participate in the election.
Briefing the press on preparations for the election, LASIEC chairman, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, said the commission was leaving no stone unturned to ensure the election is free, fair and credible.
She said non-sensitive materials for the election had been distributed across the 37 LCDA and the 20 local government areas, while the sensitive ones were being distributed to the affected areas with the supervision of security personnel.
The LASIEC boss noted that for the safety of everybody that will take part in the election the COVID-19 protocols would be observed, saying every voter is expected to wear a face mask to the polling unit, more so social distancing would be maintained while the chairs and tables to be use in the election would be sanitised.
She said assistance would be rendered to the disabled to guarantee their voting with ease, while the aged ones and pregnant women would be given preference.
She said voting would start by 8:00am and end by 3:00pm, adding that those on queue before the 3:00pm deadline would be allowed to vote, but those that decided to join the queue after the deadline would be denied the opportunity to vote.
Justice Phillips stated that card readers would be used in all the 20 local government areas and 37 LCDA that the election will hold and where card readers fail incident forms would be used.
She added that the results of the election would be loaded on LASIEC website as they are turned in and maintained that they are working on the web to make it effective.
To ensure a hitch-free poll, the Ogun State government announced a statewide restriction of movement today to allow smooth and peaceful conduct of the election.
According to the commissioner for information and strategy, Alhaji Abdulwaheed Odusile, a nine-hour restriction of movement will take place between 7:00am and 4:00pm.
The restriction he explained was at the instance of the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC).
However, during the period of the restriction, voters will be free to move to their polling centres within their neighbourhood and cast their votes.
The commissioner urged the electorate to be peaceful and avoid any act that could tarnish the hard-earned reputation of Ogun State as one of the most peaceful states in the country.
Meantime, the Ogun State Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps, TRACE, has vowed to enforce the restriction order of vehicular movement during the local government elections in the state.