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More smokers, football players than voters on election day


By Eniola Daniel- The Guardian


More smokers, football players than voters on election day

By Eniola Iwayemi
Hardly would you gain anybody’s respect as soon as you say, ‘I live in Oshodi,’ known for its notoriety and as the home of touts. But Oshodi is gradually changing, with new people, new buildings and the presence of security.
Nothing really made the morning of 2019 governorship and state assembly election in Lagos State really special as many shops on the streets were opened for business. Many chose to stay at home due to the disappointment they experienced on February 23,when ballot boxes were snatched and many agents of the opposition parties were beaten to stupor.
Just like the February poll, many youths were seen playing football on the streets with majority of them above 18.When I asked why they chose to play football instead of voting, one of themthreatened to beat upthe reporter.
Ogacommot here now, we wan play ball, go your way,” he said gruffly.
Unfazed, the reporter still asked if the next Jay JayOkocha or KanuNwankwo would come from among the players.The young men said they could play better than Nigeria’s retired soccer stars, with one of them saying, ‘Oga, if you wan sign player, plenty boys dey here!”
There were more young men gathered in every corner in Oshodi than people in polling units. And it was like a festival of Cannabis sativa, known as India hempor igbo.
One of soldiers, who spotted these street boys smoking hemp under Oshodi bridge, asked, “Didn’t Fashola cleared these guys off this area?Why do we still have them?What are they doing under the bridge instead of voting?”
The four youngmen left the spot, crossed to the other side and started hailing the military men on duty, “Ahua Tuale sir.Your boys dey here!”
The soldiers could not help but laugh.
This is not Anambra
Voter apathy might have been seen by some as victory, as Nigerians complain of low turnout of voters, with some actually seeing it as election victory for their candidates.
I caught them red-handed, they were three in number, only one on faz cap, discussing how they were able to scare them away with their threat. They thought they can come here and just do anything they like, they should have come out today and see. I walked past them and moved on with my monitoring.


Officer Danborno speak on under age voting in the north and why the north will always be ahead politically:
Even with my INEC 2019 election Media Faz cap, I guess officer Danborno doesn't know his talk really interest me.
  Met in one of the polling units at about 1:30pm with children gathered playing with plastic object, one of the parties agent ask the children came to vote and are ready to use their PVC, the people around laughed it off, then another person interjected and say these children can vote in the north, then officer Danborno said, "this is why the north is ahead when it comes to voting and politics, they allow them to vote but you see many youths here smoking and playing football.
“An Hausa man will always help his fellow Hausa man but a Yoruba or Igbo man will rather chase him away. An Hausa man working in the ministry will help his brother get a job as long as he can speak Hausa  but a Yoruba man will scrutinize his brother, speak English to him and send him away.
Multiple Voting
At about 12:45, some youths came to polling units after meeting with party agents, emerged with multiple voter cards. After casting the first vote, they waited a few minutes to cast another one.
One of the youths who came to vote multiple times, voted using a female voter’s card  but when he was confronted and asked if he would come back to the same polling unit in 2023 and do the same, he simply answered that he will not be in Nigeria when the next general election will be conducted.
I Can’t stop them, they posses dangerous weapon
One of INEC’s ad hoc members, who explained why they allowed one person to vote more than once using different PVCs, said, “I can’t stop them from voting due to fear of attack. Some of them have weapons on them and stopping them could be deadly.”
The two police officers also watched on helplessly.

I will vote again when electronic voting is introduced
One of the residents, John Chuka, said, “What happened during the Presidential election got me angry. Honestly, today I didn’t vote because I’ve lost confidence in the electoral system. A situation where one’s vote doesn’t count doesn’t give one any joy. So, you could see what happened the last time where ballot boxes were snatched and a lot of threat. I decided not to vote thereafter. I am not happy not voting but it’s just that even if we vote, it won’t count. Let us look for another thing we could do than wasting our time.
“The issue is not about whether a particular section of the country is threatened. It’s just that the system has given room for that. The issue of voting should be personal. So, allow me to vote for who I want by giving me an improved system of electoral process. Electronic voting should be adopted, where we can bypass party agents who double as vote buyers and ballot box snatcher. Just give me access to vote for whoever I want if they want people like me to vote again.”



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