By Our Reporter (with agency report)
News Agency of Nigeria has reported that there was tension early Saturday morning at Ogudu collation centre in Lagos State over missing nine booklets of ballot papers meant for the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections. Each of the booklets contains 100 pages meant for Ward 4 centre.
The information has it that between 7.35 a.m. and 8.30 a.m., the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) agents protested over the missing booklets. A PDP agent, Kunle Aladiyan, told NAN the party discovered the booklets were missing in the morning while INEC officials were distributing the election materials to each ward. Aladiyan said the party would not participate in the election without the missing booklets, adding that a similar thing happened in 2015.
He said, “We told them while they were bringing the materials to count each carton of booklets, but the INEC officials refused. That is how we lost in 2015 election. We participated in the exercise thinking it would favour us, only for the missing booklets to find their ways to ballot. We don’t want to be fooled again.”
A PDP senatorial candidate in the National Assembly election, Mrs. Sherifat Olushola-Hassan, later told NAN that the party would participate on the ground that all ballot papers belonging to Ward 4 would not be distributed. An INEC official from Kosofe, who preferred anonymity, said the officers that collected the materials only counted cartons from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), stressing that if they had counted the booklets in cartons, they would have found out about the missing items.
The official said the booklets of Ward 4 would not be used so as to avoid problems. The Police Area Commander of Area H Ogudu, ACP Miller Dantawaye, who led other security agents to provide security cover for the centre and Kosofe area, confirmed that he was there when they discovered that the booklets were missing. Dantawaye said their duty was to provide security for the area, adding that the parties and INEC would resolve the problem. NAN reported that the police, DSS, and the civil defence corps were on ground at the centre, while soldiers patrolled the Ogudu road, to forestall any breakdown of law and order. Some ad hoc staff were seen protesting against the non-payment of their last elections allowance.