Voters in Ifako-Ijaiye Federal Constituency of Lagos State came out in trickles early on Saturday as the by-election for their new representative in the House of Representatives got underway.
The by-election, organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is taking place following the death of Mr Elijah Adewale, who represented the constituency in the House of Representatives in Abuja on July 20. In some polling units visited in Ifako-Ijaiye early Saturday, few voters were seen waiting to cast their votes, hours after the polls opened at 8.00a.m.
As at 10 a.m, only four voters were seen on queue, out of the 1006 voters registered to cast their ballot at Polling Unit 001, Ward-3 at Bishop Oluwole Memorial PrimarySchool in Iju Area.At the polling unit 010, Old Akute Junction, some 30 voters, out of 1086 registered voters, were seen on the queue as at 10.30 a.m.
In some polling units in Ogba, as at 9.45 a.m, voters were yet to arrive, with only INEC officials and party agents seen on ground. As at 9.45 a.m in Polling Unit 19, Ward 7, INEC officials were on ground but accreditation and voting had not commenced.
Also in Polling Unit 18 Ward 7, as at 9 a.m, voting had not started, and INEC officials were seen trying to settle down for the day’s business. At Polling Unit 009 Ward 06 on Lucas Street, voter accreditation started around 9.30 a.m., and many voters were seen waiting to cast their votes.
Speaking to NAN, some party agents complained of late arrival of materials and polling officers, saying they had to wait for INEC staff. Mr Frank Igor, PDP party agent at polling unit 18 ward 7, said, ”I was here before 8 a.m waiting for INEC officials, but to my greatest surprise, they arrived by 8.30 am.”
Also in the same ward, Mr Abayomi Bambo, APC party agent, said that INEC officials came with materials late, though security agents were on ground. Mr Patrick Eze, SDP party agent in polling unit 001 ward 3 said, ” I came here around 7a.m, so far, both accreditation and voting have not started as at few minutes to nine”.
Meanwhile, in places where accreditation and voting had commenced as at 10 a.m, the card readers were functioning properly. There was heavy presence of security personnel in all the polling units visited. Town criers were also going about calling people out to vote. The last voter in the election is expected to be on queue by 2.00p.m to be able to cast his vote.
Could this be as a result of loss of confidence in our electoral system?