Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun has described Saturday’s local government poll in the state as “historic.’’
Amosun made the observation while addressing newsmen after casting his vote at Polling Unit 1 in Ward 4 at Ajura in Owode Local Council Development Area (LCDA).
The governor hinged his statement on the ground that since the state’s creation, Saturday’s poll was the first in which election was being conducted into LCDAs alongside local governments.
The Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC) on Saturday conducted election into the 20 local government councils and the 37 newly created LCDAs in the state.
“I feel great today because we are not just voting but we are also making history. In the history of our state which is about 40 years and half now, this is the first time we are having LCDA elections with local governments elections. You will therefore agree with me that we are making history today,” he said.
Amosun also rated the poll in terms of importance above governorship election, saying, “it is the closest to the people.’’
He expressed satisfaction over the peaceful conduct of the poll at his ward, adding that reports that he got from other parts of the state indicated the same situation.
The governor was full of praises for the security agents who were on ground to maintain law and order.
He also commended the state electoral commission, particularly for the simultaneous accreditation and voting system adopted, which according to him, enhanced the credibility of the poll.
The governor, however, argued that it would be difficult to assess the turn-out of people until the poll was over because of the system adopted.
“We cannot judge the turn-out of people based on the people at the polling units per time. This is because many people according to reports left the polling centres immediately they finished voting So after the voting, we need to compare the number of registered voters with the number of people that actually voted,” he said.
Amosun gave an assurance that the exercise would improve development in all the council areas.
However, a factional Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Hon. Sikirulai Ogundele, and his Labour Party counterpart, Abayomi Arabambi, have called for the cancellation of the poll.
Ogundele said the cancellation had become necessary because the exercise was characterised by violence and irregularities.
The PDP chieftain alleged that there were many reported cases of ballot box snatching as well as other logistic challenges across the state..
He also claimed that a PDP supporter, identified as Goodluck, who was trying to prevent ballot snatching, was shot in the chest at one of the polling centres at Ilara Remo in Remo North Council Area
The Chairman said that the victim was already receiving treatment at Babcock University Teaching Hospital in Remo Council Area.
Ogundele also alleged that there were reports of sporadic shootings at Orile-Ilugun area in Odeda council area resulting from clashes between rival parties.
He said OGSIEC also created additional polling centres, particularly in strongholds of the APC, without the prior knowledge of opposition parties.
Arabambi said that the party had no confidence in the conduct of the poll.
“The state electoral agency has de-listed our party and therefore denied us from participating in the poll,’’ the chairman said.
The Labour Party chairman further said that the party had already filed a suit against OGISIEC and would follow the case to a logical conclusion.
The 2015 Governorship candidate of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) in Ogun, Rotimi Paseda, also expressed dissatisfaction with the conduct of the poll, describing it as “a deceit.’’
Paseda, who spoke at his Omu residence in Odogbolu Local Government Council after the voting exercise, said that election materials were not sufficient.
He said they had to travel to Odogbolu to request for more materials.
“We cannot do anything else except to make our voices heard and show our dissatisfaction.
“As far as we in the UPN are concerned, this local government election has not been credible.
Some of our candidates have been getting video reports to prove the irregularities and that is what we will take to court later.
If we cannot get judgment in court, we will abide by the rule of law, but there is a public opinion court, and that is where we are going to meet.
We will ensure that we post the video recordings all over the social media and as long as they are embarrassed, it is enough for us,” he said.