-By Funmi Falobi-
Nigerians across the country today cast their votes for candidates of their choice.
Over 72 million Nigerians performed their civic rights to choose their leaders in the presidential and national assembly elections. Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after initially cancelling it on February 16, had rescheduled February 23, 2019 for the presidential and national assembly elections.
Generally, the elections have been peaceful and voters performed their franchise role. Most of the places visited, voters explained that the voting started on time as INEC ad-hoc staff arrived on time though some areas declared that INEC staff did not arrive until around 8.30am. For instance, at Ward C, Ogba, the conduct was well organised but INEC ad-hoc came at 8.30am.
In line with INEC regulations, each of the polling unit visited had police personnel on ground to ensure peaceful conduct of the elections and maintain law and order. In some areas, especially the estate residential areas, the conduct of the elections were well organised as the estate associations provided canopies, snacks and bottled water for the voters. From Toyin in Iju-Ishaga area to Elliot, Obawole, Iju road, Pen Cinema, Ogba, Ikeja areas of Lagos state, voters conducted themselves peacefully.
The ever Lagos busy roads were deserted and teenagers and youths turned the roads to football playing fields. For instance, the stretch of Agege road linking Oba Akran was turned to football fields by different groups of youths.
Similarly, there were military presences on some of the roads as they blocked some portions of the roads and only opened it to people who have genuine business especially those that had to carry out duties on the Election Day. At Fagba junction, Pen Cinema, Akilo road, Mosalasi Alhaja, Agege market all recorded the presence of military personnel.
Speaking with sdnonline.net, Mr. Bankole Adetola, a resident who cast his vote at Oladipo-Ayeni, Obawole Ward F confirmed that the elections have been peaceful.
“There is no problem here. It has been peaceful. The INEC officials came on time and we have two places where you check your names. Immediately you find your name, you proceed to the INEC staff who check your name and you cast your vote. However, some people don’t know that immediately you check your name you vote; they thought you can go home and come later to vote,” he said.
As at the time sdnonline.net got to some polling units, voting were almost concluded as at 11.20am as was witnessed at Ward F, Oloti polling unit, Ikeja. This could be as a result of the area being industrial area with residents, as the area is a buzzing business district rather than residential.
However, in few instances, voters expressed that the card readers did not work though they found their names on the list. They were however allowed to vote without the card reader, once their names was on the voters list.
It was also noticed that there were quite a number of polling units in close proximity to where residents could easily vote. In some instances, major streets had up to three polling units, so it was easily accessible to the electorates.