Barely a month after the #EndSARS protests that witnessed the brutalisation of youths and their avowal to use the electoral process to punish Nigerian leaders by coming out en masse to vote them out of power, there was a low voter turnout during the bye-election in Lagos on Saturday.
Figures obtained showed that the number of persons that voted in Somolu, Epe, Kosofe, Ibeju-Lekki and Ikorodu local government areas on Saturday was less than nine per cent of the total number of persons with Permanent Voter Cards.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission, about 1, 168, 790 voters possess PVCs in the five local governments and were expected to vote on Saturday.
However, figures released by INEC showed that only 104, 894 persons cast their ballot in the election which the All Progressives Congress won.
In Ibeju-Lekki local government area, 17, 903 voters were accredited while in the Kosofe local government area, 17,457 came forward to cast their ballot. In Epe, 24,736 cast their votes while Somolu had a turnout of 20,761. Ikorodu local government witnessed a turnout of 24,037.
Reports has it that the voter turnout on Saturday is less than half of that of the 2019 general elections in Lagos State which was a bit above 18%.
A non-governmental organisation, Enough is Enough Nigeria, however, said the result of the by-election was not surprising because INEC had not registered new voters since 2018 and it was the same people who voted in 2019 that voted again on Saturday.
The NGO tweeted, “For those expecting magic with elections post-#EndSARS: By October, no new candidate could join the races. Second, underdogs without a campaign/message won’t suddenly have one. Thirdly, INEC closed voter registration in August 2018 – over two years ago! Marathon, not sprint.”
Executive Director of YIAGA Africa, Samson Itodo, said that the low voter turnout didn’t mean that the #EndSARS protests failed. He said on the contrary, the low voter turnout was a form of protest and a reflection of public disenchantment.
Itodo, who played a huge role in ensuring a better youth participation in governance, said Lagos State had always been synonymous with voter turnouts especially during bye-elections.