…APC hails boycott
…Fayose says turnout impressive
The local government election conducted in Ekiti State on Saturday recorded an unprecedented low turnout of voters.
Unlike the 2014 governorship election and the general elections conducted earlier in the year, voters stayed away from the local government election in virtually all units, wards and council areas visited by reporters.
Only the electoral officials, security officers and agents of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were present at all the polling units opened for voting at the election.
The presence of only PDP agents at the election was contrary to the claim of Ekiti State Independent Electoral Commission (EKSIEC) that five parties are participating in the election.
The five parties on the ballot are PDP, United Progressives Party (UPP), KOWA, African Peoples Alliance (APA) and Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN).
In Ado, the state capital, Ikere, Ikole, Otun, Ido, Ifaki, Omuo, Ise, Igede, Aramoko, Okemesi, Ayetoro, Iworoko, Iyin, Efon and Ilawe, voter apathy was apparent with residents staying indoors while other were seen drinking at beer joints .
Some presiding officers confirmed the low turnout of the electorate at their units with the polling officials and security agents idle.
The directive of EKSIEC that voting should commence at 1.00 pm after accreditation, expected to have taken place between 8.00 am and 12 noon was violated in many polling stations in the state capital where voting had commenced as early as 10.00 am.
In Ado Ward 9, Unit 008 opposite Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH), only 20 voters have been accredited out of 1,450 voters registered at the unit at about 11.30 pm.
At Unit 006, Ajitadidun Ward 9 in Ado, only 16 voters have been accredited and voted out of 1,471 whose names appear on the register as at 11.41 am while 18 voters out 1,046 have been accredited and cast their votes as at 11.49 am.
At Unit 016 Ward 5 in Okeyinmi area in Ado, only 11 voters have accredited and voted out of 626 registered voters as at 11.17 am.
EKSIEC Chairman, Justice Kayode Bamisile, absolved his agency from blame over early voting recorded in many parts of Ado and absence of agents of the four other political parties cleared to participate at the poll.
Speaking on the poor turnout, Bamisile said: “It is very easy to take the horse to the river but you cannot force the horse to drink water”.
Governor Ayo Fayose described the council poll as free, fair and credible contending that the turnout was ‘impressive’. Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Idowu Adelusi, Fayose also commended voters for turning out to cast their votes.
He said: “The information we are getting have been impressive. The turnout was impressive. In some places, the turnout were very impressive , while people came out late in some areas. But the turnout has been impressive.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) hailed voters for boycotting the local government poll saying “ the people behaved honourably for staying away from the election boycotted by all political parties except the PDP”.
Berating Fayose for holding the election despite pendency of the election case at the Court of Appeal, the party also accused the governor of wasting N300 million of taxpayers’ money on an election that would not stand the test of legality.
Meanwhile, the gubernatorial candidate of the Accord Party in the June 21 governorship election in Ekiti State, Kole Ajayi, a lawyer, has condemned the weekend local government election.
He said the poll was fraudulently organised by Fayose, who understood that the exercise was patently illegal, but still went ahead to conduct the poll after allegedly voting N300m, half of which would be misapplied for selfish reasons.