The pan Yoruba socio-political Organisation, Afenifere, in Lagos State, has called for the cancellation of the governorship and House of Assembly elections held in the state saying the exercise was fraught with irregularities.
Afenifere, in a statement by its Lagos State leader and chairman, Chief Supo Shonibare, and Otunba Tunde Onakoya, said the outcome of the polls is not a reflection of the will of the people of Lagos.
The statement reads: “Afenifere has been inundated with reports from its members, Agents and Observers who were present and/or on duty for the processes of the Election held Saturday, March 18.
“In 13,325 polling units in Lagos State, various acts were observed and widely reported that impinge on the integrity of the elections and render the results grossly unreliable; these results cannot be described as a reflection of the will of the people of Lagos. The only option open to the Independent National Election Commission is to reschedule elections at those polling units where the process was so blatantly subverted by an unholy alliance of subversives, including INEC staff, security agents and hoodlums.
“Videos of intimidation of voters, either by direct threats or actual violence, and the suppression of votes are rife and viral.
With the active connivance of some traditional rulers, arbitrary relocation of polling units far away from designated polling areas and the snatching of ballot boxes were also rampant. These acts of thuggery were pervasive in at least 11 local government areas. After voting, election materials were snatched at many polling units, and many instances of this were captured on video.
“INEC officials blatantly refused to capture and offload results at polling units on INEC i-Rev portal. Refusal to capture and offload the results to the iRev portal at the polling units immediately after the announcement of the results was an invitation to political hoodlums, to buy time to observe, disrupt or snatch ballot boxes and destroy the votes at polling units. These were at polling units where the ruling party lost or in areas where the Labour Party Presidential candidate had substantial majority votes at the elections conducted on the 25th of February.
“Many of these incidents were captured live on television stations in live broadcasts. A few days before the elections, videos of identifiable individuals and traditional rulers threatening anyone intending not to support APC were trending. The intended objective of these acts was to suppress voter turnout. Had the security agencies intervened to halt these unseemly manifestations by demonstrating to the electorate that individuals inciting violence would be held accountable, the voting public would have been reassured of their ability to freely exercise their franchise, but the security agencies kept mute.
“In effect, this gross dereliction of duty suppressed voting. There was therefore a very low turnout in Lagos. This election was even more shambolic in Lagos than the Presidential elections held on the 25th of February. All the mischief of electoral malpractices that the amended Electoral Act had sought to cure was therefore rendered nugatory. The massive public funds allotted to INEC to improve the integrity of the processes was money down the drain.
“As of 11.30 pm, no results had reached the State collation centre from the various local government collation centres. Even local government areas contiguous to the Mainland Local Government State Office of INEC had not arrived at the State collation centre to submit the results of the Wards collated unit.
“With all these botched processes, it is difficult to sustain the illusion of a free and fair election; they must be a rescheduled election.
“We, therefore, call on the Resident Commissioner of INEC in Lagos, to consult with INEC headquarters, to cancel the processes in all the affected polling units in Ibeju-Lekki, Eti- Osa, Surulere, Shomolu, Ikeja, Ifako-Ijaiye, Oshodi- Isolo, Ojo, Amuwo- Odofin, Agege and Alimosho, and to enable rescheduled elections in these polling units at the earliest possible time.”