Abeokuta – The Saturday local government elections in Ogun was largely characterised by low turnout of voters and logistic challenges at the early stage of the excercise in most council areas.
Correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who monitored the exercise across the state reports that the elections scheduled to hold between 8.00 a.m and 2.00 p.m did not start until 11.00 a.m in most of the polling centres.
NAN reports that most of the polling units visited at Itoku and Kobiti areas in Abeokuta South Local Government area, as well as Ewekero and Mowe areas in Obafemi-Owode Local Government, were virtually empty as at 10.00 a.m.
Some electoral officials were, however, on ground as early as possible in some of the polling units at Obantoko and Federal College of Education, Osiele in Odeda Local Government area with the election materials.
They were, however, seen sitting idle waiting for voters who were coming out in trickles.
Apathy also played out in other council areas like the Ado-Odo/Ota and Ikenne council areas in spite of the fact that the electoral officers were on ground.
NAN reports that the excercise was generally peaceful in all the polling booths, in spite of minimal presence of security officials, including the Amotekun corps.
The restriction order on movement was strictly enforced in most of the local government areas, except at Iperu, the hometown of the governor in Ikenne Local Government.
Residents violated the restriction order in the town as they were going about their normal businesses, while vehicles were moving about unhindered in many parts of the town.
Commenting, Mr Abdullahi Jabi, an Election Observer, told NAN that the exercise was peaceful and orderly in many of the polling booths.
Jabi also confirmed that the exercise was characterised with low turnout.
He said there seems to be apathy, saying that the fear of the unknown could not allow some of the voters to come out.
“For the areas we have covered so far, it has been peaceful, but there has been clear evidence of apathy.
“You can imagine that in a particular unit of almost 800 registered voters, only about 10 people turned out for voting, as at almost noon.
“People are generally losing interest in the council polls and if the situation is not addressed quickly, it will extend into the general elections,” Jabi said.
He ascribed the situation to fear of insecurity and lack of faith by the electorate in the state electoral agency.