By; OLADELE ADEDAYO, Ado-Ekiti
The conduct of election into the Ekiti State House of Assembly by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday was characterised by unimpressive turnout of eligible voters unlike how it was observed during the recent Presidential and National Assembly polls.
In some of the polling units visited across the state,few voters showed up to cast their votes, even in the densely populated capital city,Ado-Ekiti.
Even security arrangement was relaxed unlike the presidential election when each unit had four policemen apart from other sister agencies.
However,the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, attributed the low turnout to the fact that there was no governorship election in Ekiti.
He said this after voting in his unit at ward 8 in Ado-Ekiti metropolis.
Ojudu added that the light security in the state was connected with the peace enjoyed in the state during the presidential poll.
“There was no incident of arrest or violence in Ekiti in the presidential election. Nobody was arrested and no single gunshot was fired.
” The strategy must be that more security men were deployed in some other states considered as flashpoints .
“Again, don’t forget that there was no governorship election here today, so the stake seems low”.
The former governor of the state and the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Deputy Chairman, Niyi Adebayo, described the poll as peaceful.
Adebayo voted at his unit in ward A ,Iyin Ekiti in Irepodun/Ifelodun local government area of the state.
Also,the senator elect and All Progressives Congress chieftain in Ekiti State, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, has called for more improvement in the conduct of elections in Nigeria.
Bamidele said, though the country’s democracy is still at the nascent stage ,but hinted that there was need for radical development of the system in the area of voter education.
Bamidele won the National assembly election on February 23 , polling 94,279 votes to defeat the candidate of the PDP, Barr Obafemi Adewale .
Speaking after voting at his unit in at Ward B, Iyin- Ekiti, Bamidele said a lot needed to be done in addressing pervasive cases of violence and apathy in the country.
“INEC must up its game if we really want to get it right. In some part of the country, there were late arrival of materials, so this should not happen.”
Bamidele said the apathy witnessed in Ekiti was a general trend in all the states of the federation where governorship elections were not held.
The senator elect added that it was imperative for the National Orientation Agency and politicians to begin aggressive voter education in the southern part of the country.
He ,however, expressed satisfaction about the peaceful nature of the assembly poll in Ekiti, saying “though, there was apathy, but no incident of violence and attack .
“The most important thing in politics is safety of voters, and once voters are safe, the issue of low turnout, though not good enough but it can be easily addressed”.
He added further: “in the presidential election , the stakes were high. The politicians across party divides knew the bandwagon effects it will have on the assembly election, that was why we have large turnout on February 23.
Meanwhile,the State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi said he looked forward to a time when Nigeria would be able to conduct all her elections in one day,possibly through electronic voting.
Speaking shortly after casting his vote at his country home,Isan-Ekiti,in Oye localGovernment area of the state,the Governor said the current election schedule where elections into all elective positions are conducted separately “is not a good use of time and effort”.
Dr. Fayemi expressed optimism that the country would take advantage of technological advancement and switch to electronic voting to enhance seamless voting process that will enable the electorate exercise their voting right while going about their normal daily work.
He,however commended the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) for quickly addressing some hiccups that could have paralysed the smooth conduct of the 2019 general elections; saying that he would be happy if the process run smoothly in all parts of the State just as the card reader worked perfectly in Isan-Ekiti where he voted.
“The card reader work, my fingerprint was read and it took less than a minute for me to do these and vote. If it is like this everywhere, we really have to give kudos to INEC. There may have been some errors in the past but they have quickly corrected those and they have done well in this election.
“I look forward to a time when all the elections can actually happen in one day. This is not a good use of our time the time we commit to this effort, the man working hour is just too much. So we hope technology will improve, we hope to get to the point of electronic voting and get to the point where everything can be smooth and fast and we can combine work with voting”, he said.
The Governor who voted at 11:28am said the election went reasonably well and peaceful but turnout was lower than it was during the presidential election a fortnight ago.
His words: “I have been in touch with virtually every local government and community in the State. The election has gone reasonably well, peaceful and the poll officials got to their units on time and voters were treated respectfully. It appears that we have a low turn out today, lower than we recorded during the presidential and NASS election two weeks ago”.