The Ekiti State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) yesterday held a referendum on the creation of new 18 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).
Controversy had trailed the creation of the new LCDAs and the referendum, with the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) kicking against the creation, while also calling on the people to shun the referendum.
The exercise, which held at designated primary schools in the 137 wards across the 12 affected local government areas, commenced at about 8 am with the registration of interested voters and ended at 4pm.
Describing the exercise as a huge success, Chairman of SIEC, Mrs. Cecilia Adelusi, noted that the turnout of the people for the exercise was an indication that the state government took the right decision to conduct the referendum.
She disclosed that there was a massive turnout in Iyin, Ogotun, Ikole, Iloro, Ifaki and other areas where the referendum took place, as people trooped out in large number, to vote.
The SIEC boss added, “However, there were areas where election did not take place. In places like Osi and Igbole, there was total blockage of the road, because the people there were protesting the choice of the headquarters.
“It is not our duty to look into such agitations, because we will still compute our results and send to the House of Assembly for ratification.”
Speaking with journalists in Ikere Ekiti, the Commissioner for Integration and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Funminiyi Afuye, said the people of the town were enthusiastic about the creation of an LCDA in the town, adding, “This must have informed the mammoth crowd that participated in this exercise (referendum).”
Journalists who monitored the exercise in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, noticed a fairly large turnout of people in all the designated centres in the 13 wards of the council.
At Ward 5, St. Michael’s Primary School, Ajilosun opposite Mobil Petrol Station, the turnout was quite impressive.
Despite the relative success of the exercise, opposition parties allegedly boycotted the exercise, with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) describing the creation of the new LCDAs as placing hurdles on the path of the incoming government of governor-elect, Mr. Ayodele Fayose.
A few weeks ago, the PDP had gone to court seeking an injunction to restrain the state governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the State House of Assembly and SIEC from going ahead with the exercise.
Defending its boycott of the referendum, the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in the State, Pastor Kola Oluwawole, hinged its stance on what he described as “insincerity of the outgoing government in its approach to the creation of the councils.”
The PDP spokesperson noted that out of the 177 wards in the state, people in about 130 wards allegedly boycotted the exercise, while those who participated did so under duress and coercion from members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
By Sulaiman Salawudeen
This article was first published in The Nation on Sunday, July 20, 2014
Last modified: July 20, 2014