How violent Labour Party,LP supporters prevented millions from voting during Presidential election in Lagos

‘I was prevented from voting in polling unit on my father’s land in Lagos’

A leader of the Election Monitoring team and former Chairman Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, CDHR Lagos Chapter Comrade Ade Ikuesan speaks with Irohinoodua on his experience during the last elections in Lagos in an interview with our correspondent, Joseph Ologeh Chibu

Kindly introduce yourself.

My name is Ade Ikuesan, I am the Vice President of Community Development of Nigerian Human Right, I was the Community Development Association, CDA Chairman and currently the National Auditor and National Treasurer.
What was your experience and observation in the last Presidential Election?

As sweet as that election would have been, there were so many incidences of people preventing other people from voting. This happened more during the Presidential election in Lagos. Unfortunately those preventing people from voting are the same people claiming to be the victims.

My personal experience, for example in Amuwo where my father has a building, some people from other places, essentially non Yoruba prevented my people from voting, claiming that the place belongs to them. They were saying ‘Na we get this area. Lagos na no man’s land.” These are traders and they were well organized. They were all rooting for the Labour Party, LP. They prevented my siblings from voting. They were very violet and abusive. I will say specifically that the place belongs to the Igbos in terms of the dominant ethnic group that live in the area. They prevented many Yoruba and Edo people from voting.
I led a section of the monitoring team in Lagos State. I went round the state. I went to several local government areas. The situation as the same. This was during the Presidential election. It was more rampant in Okokomaiko, Mile 2, Alaba area, Okota, Ejigbo, in fact in a particular polling unit with T-Mac, people came out with dogs and thugs to attack Yoruba people and prevented them from voting.
Its shocking how the facts and realities were distorted in the media. I will mention his name, they brought big dogs to prevent Yorubas from voting and so many incidences of things like that happened all over the state, although Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC too made some mistakes, unfortunately some INEC Staffs worked alongside this people. I went round the whole of Lagos, I monitored the election from Agege, Iyanu Ogba, Amuwo Odofin, Ikeja, even down to the Island, and I saw what happened, most places they were peaceful except from places like Amuwo Odofin, Ejigbo and Okota area which very volatile and caused by this people who are now shouting to be the victim. They would speak Igbo to you and if you could not reply back, your would be prevented from voting. They also gave lots of money to many voters. The problem with Lagos State Government is that theu didn’t effectively monitor the election,they left so many technical but important things on done. They didn’t even document events around the election. The human rights violations even of APC members and indigenous peoples were never documented. Its shameful

Do you believe that all the negativity in the election justify calling for an interim government?

No, no, Interim Government, except those who don’t know our history will say there should be an Interim government. Abioka won the 1983 election, they annulled ir and brought interim Government. They didnt even announce the result.

In this case, someone has won. There canr be any interim government. Those talking like this are not democrats. They ate fascists.

The election went on, somebody has been declared winner, if anybody disagrees, he should go to court like they have done, so that’s the best they can do. An Interim Government which is totally condemnable and no sane man who is up to thirty (30) years should call for that. Its because some people have programmed they would win at all cost, but they lost. The Presidential election in Lagos was massively rigged in favour of Labour Party, LP. The situation differs during the Gubernatorial election when the people insisted on voting and had to resist attempts to stop them from voting. I think Lagos indigenous people came out in large numbers to assert themselves during the Gubernatorial election.

What is your opinion on why Labour Party (LP) lost the election?

They lost because they didn’t plan to win. They relied on raw anger and rigging. They relied on menacing messaging, bullying and blackmail. They wanted to win Lagos at all cost and without the will of the indigenous people. Labour Party generally didn’t plan to win, because they were doing the talk more instead of strategizing properly, they were too aggressive, once you are not on their side, they will want to attack you, they were too rash, abrasive, than being persuasive. If you want to win people to your side, you have to talk to them in a way to convince the person not attacking the people. They were using more of force than political approach.

I also think the All Progressives Congress, APC in Lagos has abandoned its constituency, the real civil society people who dominate the public space, so the LP took charge and are now shaping local and international opinion about the Nigerian elections. The LP also lost because its candidate is relatively unknown to the traditional political, cultural and social forces in Lagos.

Why do you think APC in Lagos lost during the Presidential Election?

Over Confidence, you know Lagos has been APC State, many of their people didn’t come out, they had the ‘we will win, is it not Lagos’, mentality so they didn’t come out to vote, they were too relaxed. They also didn’t care about the cultural and social groups, the social forces that have been part of Lagos elections since 1999, so their members stayed away and it gave room for new voters as against the traditional voters

What is your opinion on rigging during the presidential gubernatorial election?

I went round as I told you, I went round the whole of Lagos, I didn’t see classic rigging during the gubernatorial election. During the Presidential election, I rigging, I saw intimidation. though I also saw threats, as I said earlier, some INEC Staffs collaborated with some people to prevent people from voting, is that rigging too, I believe rigging is manipulating the results, but I saw intimidation by people in collaboration with INEC, so I didn’t see rigging as rigging.

What about the IPOB claim that Igbos were attacked during the election?

That is not true because me I will say Igbos attacked people during the election. They are the aggressors. I have evidence of a hotel attack in Amuwo, that’s my father’s local government, they attacked the hotel and broke customers vehicles, it was reported in the news. The Hotel is owned by a Yoruba. Was it Yoruba that attacked the Yoruba Hotel? Its unfortunate that those who launched violence during the election against Yoruba are the same people spreading lies, blackmail and propaganda.

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