Violence Mars Lagos Governorship Elections With Reports of Brutality, Attacks and Voter Intimidation.

Nmesoma Okwudili


April 1, 2023

According to reports, the Lagos state governorship elections on March 18, 2023, were marred by violence and voter intimidation. It was marked by numerous reports of vandalism, attacks, and abductions in various polling stations and communities, resulting in a high level of tension and insecurity.

The White House Situation Room had previously warned of security risks and called for adequate safeguards to protect voters and election officials. These security personnel serve as a A 24-hour watch and alert centre is available. They are tasked with providing current intelligence and open-source information to the President, the National Security Advisor, and members of the NSC staff in order to support the formulation and implementation of national security policy. Despite security agencies’ efforts to maintain peace and order, violence continued, with some voters reportedly staying away from the polls due to fear of attacks.

As voting for the governorship and state House of Assembly began across the country, armed thugs broke into polling unit 003 in Oke-Afa, Ejigbo in Lagos State. The attackers stormed the polling place, brandishing All Progressives Congress identity tags and attempting to steal election supplies and ballot boxes while damaging numerous thumb-printed ballots.

Thugs also tried to steal the BVAS machine and smashed seats and tables used by Independent National Electoral Commission staff. The Lagos State governorship elections have been marked by widespread violence, delays, and disruptions.

Despite widespread reports of violence and intimidation, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa, has denied these allegations, claiming that no violence or voter suppression occurred during the elections.

In a post-election interview, he stated that, while he can confirm multiple arrests, the investigation is still ongoing. As a result, he cannot specify the number of polling places where violence was reported, but he will conduct a post-election investigation and provide details.

The Lagos police chief, who claimed that voting in the state was largely peaceful, later stated that violent incidents were isolated in most areas. He also recorded a few isolated instances of thuggery. Later, he mentioned that he expected these and that he had several teams ready to respond quickly.

“We were able to control the situation and rescue the INEC officials,” he continued.

The election in Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial hub, has piqued the interest of both the media and the general public. Many people are worried about the voting process and the results of the elections, which will determine who governs the state for the next four years.

Danilo Gray, for example, took to his Twitter platform and wrote:

“It’s only someone/people who know they don’t deserve to win something who will lie, steal, cheat, and be violent to get it. When your house is clean, you put your best foot forward and hope for the best for the people you claim to care about. Simple. Is it all because of greed? Because you want to steal and “chop” money that isn’t yours? In this case, there is no room for neutrality. This is clearly evil.”

This was done to express deep frustration and pain about the electoral process and how the thugs had harmed it.

People were barred from voting, and those who had voted or were about to vote may not have had their votes counted because electoral materials had been stored.

The situation in Lagos State emphasises the need for a free and fair election that upholds the importance of ensuring the electoral process is transparent and credible. The Nigerian government and electoral body should respond to any concerns raised during the elections, investigate any instances of violence or voter suppression, and ensure that future elections are free and fair.

While the Lagos State Commissioner of Police has denied reports of widespread violence and intimidation during the governorship elections in Lagos State, the situation highlights the importance of Nigerian elections being peaceful and fair. Rampaging, stealing, and thuggery must not be the norm if Nigeria is to usher in a new era of change.


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