As the Ogun Local Government election got underway on Saturday, candidates and members of some political parties in Ijebu-Ode and its environs have expressed divergent opinions on the conduct of the electoral exercise.
Electoral personnel and voting materials arrived many of the polling units in the area as early as 7.30 a.m.
However, while members of the APC expressed optimism of a successful exercise, their counterparts in the PDP alleged abnormalities in the exercise. The election is being supervised by the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC).
Candidates from four political parties–APC, PDP, Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN)—are contesting for positions in Ijebu-Ode Central Local Government Council and Ijebu-Ode South Local Council Development Area(LCDA) The chairmanship candidate of the APC for Ijebu-Ode South LCDA, Mr Lekan Adebanjo, expressed satisfaction with the level of preparation and security for the polls.
“I’m very happy with the level of preparation by OGSIEC.
“I’m very optimistic about the outcome of the election as the feedback from the electorate has been encouraging as far as I am concerned. “My advice to the electorate is that they should not shy away from exercising their civic duties and come out en masse to vote the candidates of their choice.
“They shouldn’t be partisan but ensure they vote for candidates based on merit and track record rather than the party they represent,” Adebanjo said.
His counterpart from the PDP, who is contesting the chairmanship position of Ijebu-Ode Central Local Government, Mr Lukman Agoro, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the conduct of the elctoral exercise, claiming bias.
“The conduct so far from OGSIEC has been very poor and biased.
“We observed that they nullified some of the existing polling units and created new ones for the exercise today and they were erected at the strong points of the APC candidates.
“I put some calls through to the OGSIEC headquarters yesterday but no one attended to me.
“Distribution of materials by OGSIEC has not been uniform as our agents observed that some polling units were yet to receive voting materials.
“This should not be so as we believe we are being marginalised and treated unfairly. “We are taking note and taking our evidences to tender at the tribunal after the elections.
“Why are they not making use of the card readers for this election? So many questions will be raised after this exercise, I guarantee you,” Agoro said.
Efforts to speak with the Electoral Officer for Ijebu-Ode Central on the election process proved abortive as she declined to speak with the press.
However, the Electoral Officer for Ijebu-Ode South, Mr Bolaji Adesanya, gave an assurance that the exercise would be conducted smoothly and in conformity with electoral laws.
“We are optimistic that the election is going to be credible, free and fair without incidents of violence.
“Accreditation is going to be simultaneous with the voting though the voting exercise will not be electronic,” he said. Adesanya said there were 20 wards and 116 polling units in Ijebu-Ode Central and seven wards in Ijebu-Ode South. He, however, could not ascertain the number of polling units in Ijebu-Ode South due to some re-shuffling made.
The Divisional Police Officer of Igbeba Police Division, Ijebu-Ode, CSP A. Adebiyi, told NAN that adequate security was being provided at all polling centres to ensure a hitch-free exercise.