On Saturday, March 9, Nigerians will again troop out to cast their votes for their preferred governorship candidates in their respective states.
A state of interest is Lagos, one of the few states where violence was recorded during the presidential election nearly two weeks ago.
Armed political thugs had disrupted proceedings at Okota, Isolo area of the state, disenfranchising many voters from carrying out their civic rights.
There have been fears that such a scenario could replay itself, as APC candidate Babajide Sanwo-Olu goes head to head with PDP’s Jimi Agbaje.
Some Igbos residents in Lagos have claimed they are being intentionally targeted from being able to vote their candidate of choice, a position that has been carelessly fanned by Agbaje. And though stakeholders in the ruling party have moved swiftly to calm frayed nerves, the election will be hotly contested nonetheless, due to many factors.
During the 2015 elections, there was a difference of 152,206 in total votes polled, as Governor Akinwunmi Ambode defeated Agbaje with 811,994 votes to 659,788.
Buhari had defeated former President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 presidential poll in Lagos with 792,460 votes to 632,327 – a difference of 160,133 votes.
The election two weeks ago saw a reduction in voter turnout from 47 % in 2015 to 35.6 % in 2019. The trend has been projected to continue in Saturday’s elections as many are likely to stay away due to fear of violence and lack of confidence in the credibility of the process.
The total number of registered voters in Lagos is 6,313,507 while only 1,196,490 voters were accredited during the presidential poll.
580,825 electorates expressed their confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari while 448,015 rooted for Atiku Abubakar.
Buhari had slightly edged his closest opposition Atiku by a difference of 132,810 votes – a reduction from 2015 – and there are indications that voter behaviour may not change much during the governorship poll.
Sanwo-Olu and Agbaje’s frail popularity
Safe to say both governorship aspirants do not command the popularity of many of their peers as both were reported to have lost their respective polling units during the presidential election.
Sanwo-Olu lost at the Femi Okunnu polling unit 019, Lateef Jakande, Ikoyi, while Agbaje lost at unit 004, ward A, Hindra road, Apapa GRA.
Agbaje will be hoping to garner as many sympathy votes as possible and with the unfortunate incidents during the presidential poll, he may have gained new voters among those who were disenfranchised about two weeks ago.
But barring a huge turnaround by electorates on Saturday, a total of 67,023 votes which were rendered invalid in Lagos may not be enough to swing the outcome in his favour.
APC’s machinery (by this we mean the groundwork in the grassroots level) will see the party’s candidate emerge the winner on Saturday, albeit with a marginal difference.
It’ll be interesting to see how Sanwo-Olu moves the state forward after Ambode’s not-so-impressive tenure as governor.
Above all, electorates are advised to be orderly, peaceful, wary of their surroundings and to stay safe as they go out to choose the next chapter for Lagos.
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