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Anxiety as Ogun Electoral Commission conducts referendum Thursday

Ahead of the referendum scheduled by the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC) for Thursday on the creation of 37 proposed Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs), there is anxiety over the possible outcome of the exercise.

The state Independent Electoral Commission announced that it had fixed Thursday, April 21 for the conduct of referendum in five of the 37 newly proposed Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state.

Chairman of OGSIEC, Alhaja Risikat Ogunfemi, who announced the date at a news conference in Abeokuta last Wednesday, said the exercise would be held between 9 am and 3 pm.

She said that the development followed the directive by the state House of Assembly at its plenary last week Thursday, that the electoral body should conduct the referendum within two weeks.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Speaker Suraj Adekunbi had announced at the plenary that referendum had been conducted in the other 32 LCDAs during the Olusegun Osoba-led administration in 2002.

The five proposed LCDAs where the referendum will be held are: Sango/Ijoko, Afon, Abeokuta North-East, Ifesowapo, and Coker/Ibogun with proposed headquarters at Sango, Oloka-Afon, Ita-Iyalode, Imodi-Mosan and Ibogun respectively.

Ogunfemi said that the report of the referendum would enable the Assembly to complete the process of creating the LCDAs.

She added that the exercise would not be conducted according to the strict rules usually observed in the conduct of election.

Ogunfemi explained that means of identification like drivers’ licence, Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and National Identity Card would be required to prove place of residence.

The OGESIEC boss said that there would be no restrictions of movement of people and goods in the affected areas.

She said that the electoral body had made arrangement with Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSDC) to provide security during the exercise.

The chairman said, “Let me use this medium to appeal to our people to conduct themselves peacefully during the exercise.

“We should avoid any form of violence and acts capable of disrupting the exercise.

“Law enforcement agents will be on ground to provide necessary security support during the period.

“I wish to assure you that Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission as an impartial umpire is set to make the conduct of the referendum a hitch-free process.

“Equally, we demand for the cooperation and support of all those to be involved in the exercise to make it a huge success”, he added.

However, few days to the exercise, there is anxiety in the affected areas over fears of influx of other people from other local government areas during the exercise following the decision of OGESIEC not to restrict movement during the referendum.

The fear is predicated on the plot of the opposition parties to thwart the referendum. But the OGESIEC has pledged to ensure a hitch-free exercise.

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