Peaceful and credible elections are essential for democracy to thrive. The Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st) expresses satisfaction with the peaceful conduct of the July 24 council polls conducted by the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) across the 20 Local Governments and 35 Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs.
The organisation, deployed trained observers across various polling units as accredited by the Commission to track and report adherence to the COVID-19 prevention protocols at the polling units and LGA results collation centres.
Some of the areas visited included Bariga, Shomolu, Alimosho, Ikeja, Alagutan, Iba, Agboyi Ketu, Olowogbo LCDA, Kosofe, Surulere, Ifako-Ijaiye among others.
Part of our findings on the Saturday’s local government elections in Lagos State recorded low turnout of voters, as only a handful of voters were seen in polling units. This shows that there is a steady decline in voter turnout.
Some of the voters attributed the voter apathy to the seemingly lacklustre position of the opposition parties in the elections. Most people went home or to their businesses after casting their votes instead of watching the votes and participating fully in the electoral process.
Also, on adherence to COVID-19 protocols, there was average compliance with COVID-19 protocols across some polling units in the local government and councillorship election.
At several polling units monitored by our observers, electoral officials, security officers, party agents and voters were seen mingling with one another unhindered as most of the voters and electoral officials wore no face masks and other protective apparels during the exercise.
There was also no pictorial directive to the voters on COVID-19 protocols from electoral and security agencies; few polling units had handwashing points, but however, some conscious electorate without face masks were turned back at some polling units, until they adhered to the mandatory safety condition.
From observations across polling units across the state, the election process was free and fair devoid of unrest or crisis. There was no case of violence recorded across polling units. The security did put up a satisfactory performance.
We therefore strongly recommend that in addressing the issue of apathy among electorates, advocacy should be done and intensified by all relevant stakeholders to ensure popular participation in electoral processes.
Centre for 21st century Issues (C21st) is a not-for-profit non-governmental organization responding to the challenges of the 21st Century through addressing inequality, climate change, democracy and governance.
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