Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement, YIAGA, a Civil Society Organisation, has observed a low level of awareness among Lagosians for Saturday’s local government elections in the state.
Eze Nwagwu, a board member of YIAGA, during a press conference held in Ikeja on Friday, said that YIAGA team observed that majority of citizens are not aware of the election, barely hours to the election.
He also mentioned that there will be low turnout of voters for the local government elections due to the lack of publicity and participation by political parties in the grassroots elections.
“Due to little or no campaigning by political parties participating in the election, low voter mobilization and publicity, YIAGA Africa fears the possibility of low voter turnout on Saturday, July 24,” he said.
“A simple interaction with citizens in the streets 72 hours before the election revealed that the majority of respondents were not aware of the election.
“Similarly, engagement with citizens revealed that another reason for possible low voter turnout is the growing discontent amongst the system with local governance.”
Mr Nwagwu said that YIAGA team observed that there is a gap of communication between the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), CSOs and election observers in the pre-election preparations for the LGA poll on Saturday.
He also accused LASIEC of not engaging and updating CSOs and election observers about the coming election.
“Groups who applied for accreditation via the commission’s website as directed waited endlessly for feedback from the commission on the status of the accreditation,” he added.
“The commission ignored all online applications and requested groups to resubmit hard copy applications to its office barely 24 hours before the elections, which impacted planning for observer deployments.
“Similarly, engagement with some CSOs in the state revealed that the commission is not responding to inquiries for updates on the LGA elections.”
Director of Programs at YIAGA, Cynthia Mbamalu, said that their observation shows that 12 political parties will be contesting the LGA polls, however, the campaigns were dominated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
She expressed concerns over the security and safety of citizens at the polling stations adding that the election could be marred by violence due to unresolved intra-party and inter-party grievances.
“While 12 political parties will be contesting in the LGA elections our observation in the state revealed that the campaigns were dominated by two parties- the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),” she said.
“The violent clashes that engulfed the conduct of political party primaries in some LGA’s and the pre-election cases in court also indicate unresolved grievances.”
She added, “This calls on the leadership of parties like the APC to ensure speedy resolution in the 24 hours leading to the election.”
The YIAGA Africa group, also advocated for the rights of person’s living with disabilities, while they frowned against the age discrimination and gender discrimination set by LASIEC.
According to YIAGA, the organisation have deployed non-partisan election observers to 13,323 polling units across the 20 LGAs and 37 Local Council Development Areas where the election will be holding in Lagos State.