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THE Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), Saturday, ensured that the electorate complied with wearing of face masks while visiting polling units to exercise their voting rights at the local government and councillorship elections.
It signified no face mask, no vote.
The decision was part of the COVID-19 safety protocol, especially in the wake of the its third wave in Nigeria.
The election is ongoing across the 20 local government areas (LGAs) in the state and 37 local council development areas (LCDAs) in Lagos.
Similar election is being held in Ogun State.
Findings show that the electorate without face masks were turned back in Lagos, until they adhered to the mandatory safety condition, thus providing avenue for brisk businesses, especially for face mask traders, kiosk owners and some food vendors at the polling units.
According to the Nigerian news agency, some voters at the Okerube Ward B Polling Unit (PU) 025 in Alimosho Local Government Area were sent back to get their face masks before being accredited to vote in the ongoing LG poll.
Kabiru Omotosho, a voter, was among those turned back, but he applauded the state electoral umpire for promoting the COVID-19 safety protocol.
“The officers did right by ensuring that COVID-19 protocol is adhered to.
“I was asked to go back. I don’t know how and why I forgot to bring my face mask. Maybe I was anxious and excited to vote.
“The officials did right by reminding us. The election is going as it should,” he stated
Another voter, a businesswoman, Idiat Ajibike, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that she never planned purchasing a face mask until she was compelled.
“If not that I just want to vote, I would have just gone back. I don’t like the fact that I must buy something against my wish.
“Walking back home is not an option because my place is far from here,” she stated.
Meanwhile, some Lagos residents had said there was insufficient awareness ahead of the election.
Some were confused as to whether the poll was postponed as local government election is not as popular as the governorship and the presidential elections.
Usually, the electoral body would initiate movement restriction for the voting period inorder to ensure a fair and peaceful election process.
In the case of Lagos, restriction was from 8am to 3pm today, Saturday, July 24.
However, an electoral officer, who preferred anonymity, dismissed the claim of poor awareness creation. The source told the news bureau there was enough publicity about the need for voters to come with their face masks.
“This is a typical Nigerian attitude. They don’t pay attention. By now, we all should be using this nose mask all the time.
“Imagine if there were no security agents around, some of them will insist that we must allow them to vote without it,” she asserted.
As for Abdurasak Isah, who has a kiosk nearby, business was booming with the electorate rushing to buy face masks.
“I will soon run out of stock. If I knew there will be high demand, I would have bought plenty, but I am glad I made sales. I have had these face masks for months now.
“I am enjoying the patronage,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Lagos tops the list of COVID-19 most affected states in the federation. As of July 23, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had recorded 317 new cases of the virus, with Lagos 172 cases.
So far, the country has recorded 170,623 confirmed cases, discharged 164,780 and 2131 deaths. From this figure of total confirmed cases, Lagos had 61, 865 as of July 23.