The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed the governorship and State Assembly elections slated for Saturday, March 19th at Victoria Garden City (VGC), Eti Osa, Lagos State. The Lagos Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje, explained that the postponement was due to a previous issue that occurred during the Presidential/National Assembly elections where the polling officials claimed they were held hostage by residents of VGC.
As a result of this issue, most of the officials were hesitant to work in the estate again. Despite INEC’s efforts to resolve the situation, some residents of VGC still did not feel safe voting at the estate gate. INEC then made a decision to remobilize for the election the next day at 8:30 am after receiving assurances from the estate leadership of the security of their staff.
However, VGC residents, including the immediate past president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olumide Akpata, insisted that they did not feel safe voting in an “illegal polling unit” outside VGC. According to Akpata, most of the polling units in VGC were officially located by INEC at VGC park, not VGC Gate. He also stressed that they needed official communication from INEC on the official locations for voting.
He added that when they arrived at the gate for the election, they told INEC officials that they would not be voting at an illegal location. He emphasized that their stance was not about being elitist or entitled but about following the law. Due to this disagreement, voting was not able to commence at VGC.
Akpata also contested INEC’s allegation that some of its electoral personnel were held hostage during the February 25th elections, describing it as false. He stated that the INEC officials arrived late that day and tried to leave early, but the residents prevented them from doing so.
The postponement of the election at VGC highlights the need for INEC to ensure that all polling units are located in safe and legal locations. It also underscores the importance of effective communication between INEC and the communities where the elections are being conducted. It is hoped that this issue will be resolved quickly so that the people of VGC can exercise their right to vote in a safe and secure environment.