Voter apathy characterises Lagos by-election

Dr Obafemi Hamzat, Deputy Governor, Lagos State, on Saturday appealed to voters in the Lagos East Senatorial by-election to come out and vote wisely.

Hamzat gave the advice while addressing journalists at his Polling Unit 002 at Ward A4 in Oke-Balogun, Epe.

He said: “As you can see, I have exercised my franchise by voting. I implore other registered voters to do same.

“Voting has commenced, others should come out to vote.

I am sure more people will still come out to vote, ” he said.

Hamzat made the appeal as voter apathy characterised the by-election in some areas including, Epe, Somolu and Ikorodu.

Newsmen report that many voters showed no interest in the election as they went about their businesses in spite of movement restriction.

A commercial motorcyclists, Mr Shehu Abdullahi, told newsmen in Shomolu that he needed to earn his daily bread.

He said that the election was not his priority.

Abdullahi called on elected leaders to fulfill their election campaigns and be more responsive to the plights of citizens.

Mr Christopher Nweke, a PDP agent at Polling Unit 028, Somolu/Apata said that he and some others had to go to houses, appealing to voters to come and vote.

“It is peaceful but the turnout is very poor. We have not seen much people here, we even went to their houses to call them, to beg them,” he said.

Alhaji Fatai Bakare, an election observer at Onipanu Polling Unit 001, also said that many voters failed to turn out.

Bakare, however, said that the election had been peaceful.

He called on members of the electorate to continue to be law-abiding.

“They said there would be no movement but movement is going on now; nobody cares, everybody goes where he sells or buys.

“I wish every candidateg goodluck.

“If two people compete for something, one has to be the winner.

“We will jubilate with the winner, the loser should take heart,´´ he said.

At Shomolu Local Government Area, INEC officials arrived with election materials as at 8:30a.m., while security agents were seen at all the polling units visited by newsmen.

Motorists and motorcycle operators were seen on the Apata Road, Palmgroove, Ijeshatedo, Ijebutedo, Onipanu, Alade Street and Fadipe Street, carrying passengers to different destinations.

Few filling stations were selling fuel to motorists and others while some traders were selling their goods during election hours.

Our correspondents visited Apata PU003 and 004, Onipanu PU001, Durojaiye PU 008, Palmgroove/Ijebutedo PU002, PU007 and PU008.

The others polling units include Apata/Fadipe PU028, PU029 and 034 and Alade PU003.

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A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

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“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

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