Governorship, House Of Assembly Elections Hold In 29 States Amid Hitches In Some Areas.
Nigerians on Saturday trooped out in their numbers to elect their governors and state lawmakers for the next four years.
While the governorship election was conducted in 29 states across the country, the House of Assembly poll took place in the 36 states of the federation.
Although the elections have been described as largely peaceful in most parts of the country, the exercise has not been without some hitches in some areas.
In some parts of Lagos State, the exercise was delayed particularly due to the agitation by some Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ad hoc staff over non-payment of their allowances.
The incident was particularly pronounced at the Registration Area Centre at Ogudu in Kosofe Local Government Area of the city, where the last batch of the INEC ad hoc staff, most of them National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, were seen moving out of the RAC to their designated polling units as late as 3pm on Saturday.
While INEC officials attributed the late movement of the ad hoc staff to their polling units to missing batches of ballot papers, the ad hoc staff said they were not ready to deploy because they had not received their allowances.
They also demanded that they are compensated for the postponement of the elections by one week, as well as expressed displeasure for being kept in the dark over the actual amount of money officially approved to be paid to them.
Also at Amuwo Odofin and Ikeja Local Government Areas, the INEC ad hoc staff were seen in groups, some protesting non-payment of their allowances
As at 10am, the elections were yet to commence at polling units at Mile 2 Estate in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area as the INEC ad hoc staff in the area vowed not to go out for the exercise until they received their unpaid stipends.
At a Registration Area Centre in Anifowose Primary School in Ikeja, the ad-hoc staff appeared not to be interested in the election duty. Some of them told our correspondent that apart from the election duty being tedious, they had not received their allowances as promised. They also insisted that they would not leave the RAC until their allowances were paid.
They were, however, seen leaving the centre with voting materials for their various polling units, after the intervention of INEC officials.
In some other parts of the state, similar protests by the ad-hoc staff were reported as well, with the workers insisting that they would not work if they were not paid their allowance of N10,000.
Although the elections have been adjudged as peaceful, pockets of violence were recorded in different parts of the country, some of them resulting in deaths and destruction.
In Oyo State, a serving federal lawmaker representing Lagelu/Akinyele Federal Constituency, Temitope Olatoye, was killed by gunmen in Elesu village, Lalupon, Lagelu Local Government Area of the state.
He was said to be on his way from an outing when his convoy came under attack. He was shot in the head and rushed to the University College Hospital, where he was confirmed dead shortly after.
In Guma Local Government Area of Benue State, two people were said to have been killed as some thugs attempted to burn down election materials in Gbajimba. Thugs also reportedly burnt election materials in Mbalom, the community where two priests and 17 worshippers were killed in the herders and farmers crisis in 2018.
Meanwhile, the elections have been rescheduled in four local government areas in Benue State, following the violence that broke out in Gwer, Gboko, Logo and Tarka councils, where card readers and ballot boxes were allegedly set ablaze.
In Enugu State, an APC supporter was shot dead in what the police described as “accidental discharge” following an argument near the home of the APC governorship candidate in the state, Senator Ayogu Eze, in Igboeze North Local Government Area of the state.
There was also violence in parts of Kogi State, particularly in the state capital, Lokoja, and Ayimgba. Some persons were seen in police uniform shooting sporadically as they went from one polling unit to another in Lokoja, snatching ballot boxes.
Some cars were also set ablaze in the process, while the Commissioner of Police in the state, Hakeem Busari, confirmed that two people were killed during the elections in the state.
In its interim report on the conduct of the elections, the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room said it had recorded seven deaths across the country in the Governorship and House of Assembly elections.
There were cases of other electoral infractions also in Benue and Kwara States, where some persons were caught allegedly buying votes.
At the North Bank Area in Makurdi, Benue State, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) intercepted some people conveying bags full of cash believed to be meant for vote-buying.
In a tweet, the anti-graft body, which has been in the forefront of the campaign against vote buying, stated that some thugs attacked operatives and vandalised its bus used for patrol, while operatives attempted to arrest the culprits.
The EFCC operatives also nabbed another alleged vote buyer, Abdulkareem Abdulsalem in Ilorin, Kwara State.
The Agency stated on its Twitter handle, that Abdulsalem was caught sharing money to voters in the Kwara State capital.
“Operatives of the EFCC Ilorin Zonal Office, Kwara State, arrested Abdulkareem Abdulsalem for sharing money to voters on Election Day at Unit 7, Kwara State College of Education,” it stated.