February 25th started with a mild rain pour, saturating the dusty atmosphere, steering in a cool day for Nigerians to file out and re-validate its democratic system of government.
Considered to many as a medium to usher in a new era of change, the 2023 general elections is a much-foreseen path for Nigerians to once again amass a feeling of hope during a time it is dealing with numerous economic downturn.
In Ikorodu Division, eligible residential voters wasted no time in locating their respective polling units, waiting for the arrival of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials to get the electoral process up and running.
With numerous neighborhoods on standby to decide on Presidential, Senatorial and House of Representatives elections, Ikorodu News Network (INN) took time to touch down different polling centres to ascertain first-hand information on the procedure, voters’ response and possible candidate of choice.
Discerning voters would rather keep to themselves the candidate they wish to vote for, we agreed on obtaining only their reaction to experiences at the polling units.
Reaching the Owode-Ibeshe axis in Igbogbo Baiyeku LCDA, we highlighted at Molatori polling unit, where we met voters trying to identify their unit via the INEC notice board.
It was past 10 am and accreditation had already kicked off as peaceful voters were all waiting for their turn to exercise their civic rights.
Molatori polling unit was also the point where Ikorodu federal lawmaker, Rep. Babajimi Benson MHR, did his accreditation and cast his vote.
At Ikorodu Central 001 Aga-ijimu ward, the same peaceful environment was witness, plus a good turnout of voters.
According to Owolabi Osunade, INEC officials shifted voters from a higher concentrated polling unit to a unit with less number of voters
“What I noticed is that, if the number of voters has exceeded their target, they sought out ways to create an extension for the process to be easily executed”
“During the primary BVAS accreditation exercise, I saw the INEC officials experimenting with the voters shift practice, even before collection of PVC stopped, so am not surprised how they’re handling the population,” Owolabi said.
Contrary to Owolabi, there were areas where only one polling unit was set up to cater to a massive turnout of voters across the division.
Explaining that he had voted in the previous 2 elections, Owolabi told Ikorodu News Network (INN) that he’s impressed with the high level of turnout by voters this time around and the positive attitude to partake in the procedure.
“I know some people here that normally collect their PVC but will never vote on Election Day, am surprised to see them all standing in cue to exercise their civic rights” Owolabi added.
Former Ikorodu federal constituency House of Representatives member, Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa did her accreditation and voted at Ikorodu central 007 polling unit.
Ikorodu News Network (INN) entered Apena Polling unit in Ebute (Ikorodu West LCDA) to witness another massive crowd eager to vote.
Due to the decentralisation of this very unit, some voters like Ofaka Godslove initially could not trace it on time.
According to Ofaka, he initially went to the adjacent polling unit at Ebute but couldn’t find his name at that centre before he was directed to Apena unit.
Ofaka proceeded, “Aside from that difficulty I faced, on getting here and doing my accreditation, I noticed that the polling booth section is not well covered as people can see who you are voting for”.
“Also, we have just one policewoman supervising this large crowd which I believe is not promising if something should go wrong”
Even the youths around have been telling people to cover their votes because some people who have finished voting are just standing behind to view candidates others are voting for”. Ofaka asserted.
Maximum security details were designated across the waterbed region, notably at Sabo roundabout, Itamaga, Solebo roundabout in Igbogbo road, Ebute roundabout and another strategic route point.
With assistance from IKD 106.1 FM reporter, David Akinrisimi, Ikorodu News Network (INN) syndicated information from Methodist primary school polling unit in Elepe.
As stated by David, “Covering Ewu-elepe to the Baale’s palace, It has been peaceful so far as the massive turnout of voters is all over the place”.
“The major challenge we faced here was due to the lateness of INEC officials to get to the polling centre, which made the process a little tense, but in all, we have good security presence and everything is calm and going smoothly”.
Due to the lateness of INEC officials, INN gathered that a particular unit in Ginti axis counted their ballot papers by past 7 pm.
“We’ve seen a few persons asking about their polling units because they were confused in following the code, even some INEC officials got late because they were trying to locate their centres”.
“One thing I’ve noticed in these polls is that the enthusiasm is based on individualism, people are not coming to vote the party style, they are doing it based on performance level”.
Chief Asipa Kaoli Olusanya and Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture Lagos State, Abisola Ruth Olusanya were seen with voting VIP security tags, moving and supervising the process.
“The patriotism expressed today is second to none, the people are all out to vote, I even saw a brother who said if it will take him till 6 pm before voting, then he’ll wait till that time” David explained
Senator Adetokunbo Abiru, Honourable SOB Agunbiade, Paramount Rulers in the division and other key apex leaders were visibly seen in their respective wards performing their civic rights.
In all, the general elections were held peacefully, successfully and favourably in Ikorodu division.
The day also ended with a windy rain pour just like it started.