By Bisi Olominu
The people of Ondo State trooped out last Saturday to elect a new president and members of the National Assembly.
Undeterred by the previous postponement, they eager to exercise their franchise as early as 6am, they left home early to beat the security and get to their polling stations in time to cast their votes.
To those who have been involving in elections for several years, it was no big deal, but for those who just attained the mandatory year of 18, it was a worth while experience voting for the first time in their life.
From the state capital of Akure, peace enveloped the town as military men manned the major highways to forestall breaking down of law and order, while the police patrolled the major streets in the town to monitor the election.
The major roads in the town was turned to football pitch, while at the voting centres the electorate queued and were at peace with one another as the party supporters tried to lure some to vote for their candidates.
The election was a straight fight between the All Progressives Congress and People’s Democratic Party. Both monitored themselves and their supporters at the polling booths.
The issue of vote buying was not openly done this time around, but secretly done as some electorate still collected money before voting in the election.
The President warning on ballot snatching really helped the election as the electorate comported themselves while the police officers and other security officers attached to each polling booth had little to do.
Speaking with The Hope, an 88 year old woman, Mrs Felicia Ojo said she was impressed about the election, thanked God that it was peaceful despite the postponement and apprehension before the election.
“My Son if you know what happened in 1983 in Akure during “Ogun Omoboriowo”, you will pity this town and you will not think of involving in voting again. It was the time the town lost its bright brains, but thank God today everything is peaceful and people are able to cast their votes without harassment, victimization and molestation.
“Whoever wins the election must be magnanimous in victory and who lost out must bare it at the back of his or her mind that there is always another opportunity. None should fight for there is still going to many elections in the country.
” I am thanking God for sparing my life to witness another election in the country. When the political gladiators are finally elected, they should know that things are hard in the country. Many of our youths have no job, those with university regress are still with their parents and our government should do something urgent about this quickly”.
To Mr Aderemi Ojo, it was a great joy to participate in the election, stressing that what transpired before the election and the initial postponement made some not wanted to participate in the election. He expressed happiness that the election was Peaceful as there was no report of violence in Akure.
He commended the electorate for conducted themselves in peaceful manner but frowned at vote buying saying such would not allow our democracy to grow.
According to him,” Government should stop vote buying and it can only be done when those in political offices do the right things. What we need in Nigeria is good governance, good roads, free health services, constant electricity, employment opportunities and less corruption. This process where our politicians loot the treasury, buy exotic cars, build many houses in Nigeria and abroad and starch money away in foreign lands will be detrimental to the country.
“We need peace for the country’s democracy to grow. The issue of Boko Haram should be tackled by whoever wins the election and shedding of blood during election must stop. We look forward to a good government from the coming president”.
Speaking with The Hope, Miss Bosede Johnson who was voting for the first time said she was overjoyed to participate in the election. She added that she had been waiting for the opportunity for long, thanked God for sparing her life to vote in the 2019 general elections.
” I want to thank God for giving me the opportunity this year to vote in the general elections. It is a life time opportunity that I have been looking forward for long. My desire is that the coming president should concentrate on the education sector. The incessant strike action by the lecturers must stop and students must be able to compete their studies in time. If this is achieved then I will be so happy.”
Mr. Tunde Ademola while speaking with The Hope expressed happiness on the conduct of the election in Akure, said that the materials for the election came in time as the electoral officers were at hand to attend to the electorate.
He however lamented the time consuming card reader and signing of electoral materials by the Collation Officer, urging INEC to devise means to lessen the stress embarked upon by the electorate before casting their votes.
Mr. Adebiyi Aralola in his assertion commended INEC for conducting a free and fair election, urging the electoral body to devise means to vote electronically in the country. This according to him will lessen snatching of ballot boxes and thuggery experienced in some states.
Aralola maintained that the election was commendable and it shows that the country is progressing and on the path of greatness.
” If we can build on this, we will not only show other Africa countries how to conduct credible election, but teach them that we are not only the Giant of Africa but a mentor to many of them. One thing we should curb in our election is vote buying. This is still noticed in this election but not has pronounced like it was before “.
He however commended the electorate for comporting themselves during the election and never gave in to violence.
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