2023 Polls: Go back to drawing board for another time, INEC urges losers

The Resident Electoral Commission, REC, Lagos State,
Olusegun Agbaje, urged losers and Aggrieved parties in the 2023 Gubernatorial
and House of Assembly to go back to the drawing board to restrategise for
another time as the commission would continue to create the needed level
playing field for all those that aspire to take part in any election in


Agbaje gave the advice in his address at the presentation of
Certificates of Return to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his deputy, Dr Obafemi
Hamzat and other winners of the March 18, Gubernatorial and House of Assembly
elections in Lagos.


Hordes of armed security personnel, on Monday, have taken
over the premises of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and
environs on Thursday, at Birell Avenue, Sabo, Yaba, Mainland Local Government
Area of the state in preparation for the presentation of Certificates of Return
to reelected Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.


Governor-Elect, Sanwo-Olu, his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamza and
40 members-elect of the State House of Assembly won the just concluded
Gubernatorial and 40 members of the House of Assembly elections in the state.


As at 9 am, the heavily armed security personnel, comprising
of the Nigeria Police Rapid Response Squad, RRS, men of the Department of State
Service, DSS, Lagos Neighborhood Safety Corps, LNSC, were seen freaking members
of the media, guests and members of the public


Early arrival at the venue includes state party Chairman,
Pastor Cornelius Ojelabi, Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Sam Egube, and
APC chieftains, among others.


According to one of the security men who preferred
anonymity, the heavy presence of the security was aimed at curtailing any
possible unrest, unruly and indiscipline acts by the public.


 APC party faithful
were seen chanting various victory songs outside the INEC office.


Recall that the gubernatorial election was held on March 18
in which Governor Sanwo-Olu of the All Progressive Congress, APC, emerged
winner with over 700,000 votes to defeat his closest rival, Mr Gbadebo
Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party who polled over 300,000 votes, while Dr
Olajide Adeniran, popularly called Jandor of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,
came distant third with about 75,000 votes.


Meanwhile, Rhodes-Vivour just secured a court order to
inspect electoral materials used during the election as he challenged the
victory of Governor Sanwo-Olu.


Agbaje also urged them to embrace peace and shun any form of


According to him, “It is indeed a great delight for me to
welcome you all to this special occasion of the presentation of Certificates of
Return to the Lagos State Governor-Elect, Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu of the
All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Deputy Governor-Elect, Dr Obafemi
Hamzat as well as the 40 State House of Assembly members-elect.


“Permit me to start by congratulating all the stakeholders
in the electoral process and the very good and peace loving people of Lagos
State for the successful conduct of the General Election in the State.


“I am indeed humbled by the outcome of the election despite
the enormous challenges that characterized the exercise.


“The journey towards the accomplishment of success in the
Governorship and State House of Assembly Election was not completely smooth as
some desperate elements used their negative utterances which unnecessarily
overheated the political environment.


“Armed thugs were used to unleash mayhem on the process in
some areas while unfounded allegations were peddled against INEC to distract
her from focusing on its mandate during the period.


“The Commission was however undaunted as it remained focused
on doing all that was required within the ambit of the laws of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria to avail all registered political parties that nominated
candidates for the election equal opportunity to participate in the process.


“The preparation for the 2023 General Election commenced
with the expansion of voters access to polling units in 2021 which culminated
in the increase of polling units in the State from 8,464 to 13, 325 polling


‘This development necessitated huge personnel, vehicles and
materials deployed for the election in the state. This was followed by the
Continuous Voter Registration exercise of June, 2021/July 2022 that led to a
new voter population of 7,060,195 in Lagos State.


“The total number of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) collected
in the State was 6,214,970 which was at its peak at 88 per cent.


“It is important to point out that the successful outcome of
the Lagos State Governorship and State House of Assembly Election would not
have been possible without the support and cooperation of the electorate who
came out to vote for the candidates of their choice.


“Let me once again reassure all stakeholders in the Nation’s
Electoral Process that INEC under the leadership of Professor Mahmood Yakubu,
will never do anything that will alter the gains it has achieved in terms of


“Rather, the commission will continue to build on her
credibility by doing everything possible in line with the rule of law towards
ensuring that it becomes one of the best Election Management Bodies in the
world that meets the aspirations of the Nigerian people.


“I, therefore, urge all of you to join hands with INEC as
the commission continues to improve the electoral process by positively playing
your roles.


The political class must however change its “do or die”
attitude to good conduct in politics.


“Political culture of violence, malpractices, thuggery, vote
buying and all other forms of election vices has to be done away with by
Political Party leaders.


“This they can do by letting their followers know that
violence, malpractices, thuggery and all other election vices are not only
crimes but evil forces that can hinder the progress of the country’s democratic


“In addition, there is a pressing need for increased
partnership and cooperation among and between stakeholders if Nigeria must
attain her desired sustainable democratic ideals.


Let me use this opportunity to enjoin the winners of the
Lagos State Governorship Election and State House of Assembly Election to be
magnanimous in victory by having an open hand approach to all Lagosians and
other residents of the state.


“Government must be seen by all as enhancing good governance
for the benefit of the good people of Lagos State. For those that could not
make it this time, all they need to do is to go back to the drawing board to
re-strategize for another time as INEC will continue to create the needed level
playing field for all those that aspire to take part in any election in


Agbaje commended all stakeholders for the various roles they
played in collaboration with the commission during the period of the conduct of
the election. “The very laudable roles played by the Security Agencies, leaders
of political parties in the State most especially the IPAC leadership, National
Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Gender-Based Organizations, Persons with
Disabilities, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Civil Society
Organizations (CSOs), Traditional and Religious leaders, the Media, Voters,
among others cannot be over-emphasized.”


The Supervising National Commissioner, Mr Sam Olumekun, also
delivered his address before handing over the Certificates of Return to the
Governor-Elect and the Deputy Governor-Elect and later to winners of the State
House of Assembly election.


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