Violence, voter apathy and vote-buying were notable incidences which evidently marred the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections that took place in the country on Saturday across the whole country.
Reports from most parts of the country revealed that killings, ballot box snatching and the militarisation of the process militated against the elections.
It was also observed that voter apathy experienced during the February 23 Presidential and National assembly polls was a child’s play when compared with what happened yesterday, Saturday during the governorship elections.
In Lagos, Katsina, Ogun, the Federal Capital Territory, Edo, Imo, Katsina, Delta, Adamawa and most states across the country, voters stayed away from the polling units.
The reasons for these, observers noted, included violence, military presence, harassment of opposition parties and generally held belief by many that their votes would not count.
For instance, canvassers in some parts of Lagos State including Eric Moore, Itolo Street in Surulere and some areas of Ifako Ijaiye Local Government Area of the state had to resort to using vuvuzela and bells to urge voters to come out and exercise their civic duty.
In some areas, they knocked on the gates of residents to appeal to them to come out and vote.
In Rivers State, the exercise witnessed low turnout of voters while there were reported cases of ballot box snatching.
The exercise, which failed to kick off at most polling units at 9am, was further characterised by heavy deployment of policemen and army personnel in most of the places visited by our correspondents in the state.
In the few places that people managed to turn out to exercise their rights, agents of some political parties wooed voters with money.
This activity went on in the presence of security officials at some places without hindrance.
Similar scenario played out in Katsina State as voter turnout was low, compared to that of the presidential and National Assembly polls.
A few INEC Presiding Officers and observers had also admitted the fact of the low turnout.
One of our correspondents, who visited many units in several locations in the state to monitor the elections, observed that the queues were shorter, while at some units, the ad hoc workers of INEC were virtually idle.
For instance, in Malamawa 3 Low-Cost Unit in Daura, the Presiding Officer, Mr. Kassimu Adamu-Giza, blamed the low turnout on an alleged failure by politicians particularly legislators to fulfill their campaign promises.
Our correspondence explained: “You were here during the presidential election, the turnout was massive. In this one, it is low because people feel the local politicians don’t meet their expectations.
“They think that they are voting for nothing. That is the type of awareness that the voters have here.”
The PO in Majima 1, Daura 1 Primary School, Aisha Lawal-Rabe, said the people were more interested in the presidential poll and came out more because of “the Buhari factor.”
However, apart from voter apathy, violence that led to the killings of many were also recorded during the elections.
From Rivers to Ekiti, Imo to Oyo, Enugu to Akwa Ibom and Benue states, many people including a member of the House of Representatives, representing Akinyele/Lagelu Federal Constituency of Oyo State, Temitope Olatoye, popularly called Sugar, was killed in the violence that characterised the elections.
Olatoye died at the Intensive Care Unit of the University College Hospital, Ibadan after he was shot in the eye by suspected political thugs in Lalupon area of the state. He was hurriedly rushed to the Accident and Emergency ward of the UCH by his supporters from where doctors on duty moved him to the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital.
The UCH Public Relations Officer, Mr. Toye Akinrinlola, told one of our correspondents that the lawmaker was moved to the intensive care unit, where doctors battled in vain to save his life.
“He eventually died around 7:45 pm,” the doctor explained.
A close aide to the lawmaker (name withheld) had told one of our correspondents that some suspected political thugs of a rival politician in the constituency allegedly carried out the attack.
Olatoye, who won the 2015 election on the platform of the APC, lost re-election two weeks ago on the platform of the Action Democratic Party.
He vowed never to return to the APC, notwithstanding the overtures reportedly made to him by a former governor of the state, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, to join him in the APC.
Before his death, he was representing Lagelu/Akinyele federal constituency. Olatoye had in 2011 won an election into the state House of Assembly on the platform of the Accord Party before he later defected to the then Action Congress of Nigeria.
He was said to be coming from his village where he had gone to exercise his franchise when the assailant ambushed him.Two hours earlier, a supporter of the PDP, simply identified as Mudasiru, was also shot dead by a police officer in Ile Titun area of Ibadan South-East Local Government Area of the state.
Mudasiru, in his late 20s, was said to be celebrating his party’s victory when a trigger-happy officer fired a shot which hit him from the back and ruptured his intestines.
An eyewitness told our reporters that he was quickly rushed to a traditional doctor, Chief Kehinde Ege, in Ita Ege for treatment.
As Ege was almost getting the bullet out, the boy gave up the ghost having lost too much blood, said a source who witnessed the treatment.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Lawrence Fadeyi, who confirmed both incidents, begged for more time within which the police would make its comprehensive findings available.
“Yes, both incidents are true but kindly give us more time to come up with a detailed analysis of what really happened,” Fadeyi said.