By Olawale Jokotoye and Temitope Salami
Gov. Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun state 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).
“History is being made today, this is the first time elections are being held into, not only the existing 20 local government areas of the state but also newly created LCDAs” Governor Amosun said.
The governor added that the 37 newly created LCDAs will, among other things, ensure that government and social services are brought much closer to the people in the local communities.
” 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.
There was, however, a low turn in some parts of Ijebu-Ode.
A NAN correspondent, who went round Ijebu-Ode, during the election, reports that inspite of the heavy security presence, most people decided to stay back home.
Some respondents, who spoke to NAN, cited indifference toward the choice of candidates contesting in the poll as the reason for the low turnout.
However, those who turned out gave kudos to OGSIEC for a well conducted electoral exercise without incidence of violence.
NAN reports that the Ogun Deputy Governor, Mrs Yetunde Onanuga, who is an indigene of Ijebu-Ode, was also on ground to vote and monitor the poll across the town.
Most of the wards and polling units visited started the accreditation and voting exercise between 8.00am and 9.00am while those who started at a later time cited logistics reasons for the delay.
NAN observed that in most polling units visited, an average of between 45 and 100 accredited voters had cast their votes as at 1.00 p.m.
The voting exercise officially began at 8.00am and ended at 3.00pm, with all results to be collated by the Returning Officers at the OGSIEC Collation Centre in Ijebu-Ode Local Government.
The Presiding Officer, Italapo Polling Unit 10 in Ward 6, Ijebu-Ode Local Government, Mrs Olabisi Bello, told NAN that voting had gone according to schedule with voters cooperating.
She said the turn out had been fair and that the exercise was carried out without any case of violence or disruption.
Also, at the Ward 9, Odo-Egbo Polling Unit 1 in Ijebu-Ode Local Government, the Presiding Officer, Adetutu Osunsanya, also said the electoral commission provided adequate logistics to begin the exercise according to schedule.
She, however, complained of a low turn out of voters, saying not more than 50 persons had voted at the unit as at 11.00 a.m.
At the Ijebu-Ode South LCDA, Ward 5, Imepe Polling Unit 4, Mr Peter Olanlokun, the Presiding Officer, said the turn out was fair, with about 100 voters as at 12.00p.m.
He also said the exercise was hitch-free and well coordinated.
In Ward 6, Omoluwabi Polling Unit 5 in Ijebu-Ode South LCDA, Mr Moses Adebamigbe, the presiding officer said the turn out was not good enough.
Mr Segun Adebanjo, who cast his vote in Ward 1, Polling Unit 2, told NAN that he was satisfied with the conduct of the poll and was happy no incident of violence or ballot snatching was recorded.
Mr Tola Banjo, former Ogun State House of Assembly Deputy Speaker, who cast his vote at Ward 9, Polling Unit 9, also gave credence to a successful election by OGSIEC.
“No situation is perfect but with what we have seen, there has been calm and the turn out has been improving as the exercise went on.
“The system where people can do accreditation and vote simultaneously has facilitated the speed of the exercise as people can vote and go home immediately.
“That is why we are not having cluster of people around. Contrary to opinion, generally for me, the turnout has been impressive,” Banjo said.
In Sango-Ota, accreditation and voting .started as early as 8:20 a.m. at many polling units.
At Unit 3,Ward 1,Iganmode road, Ota, the presiding officer, Mrs Funmi Odeyemi, said 475 people were expected to vote in the ward, saying that people turned out gradually.
Also at ward 2,Unit 4, the presiding officer, Mrs Kudirat Lawal, said that 541 people were expected to vote in the ward.
As at 11.00 a.m., however, only 40 had voted in the polling unit.(