Opposition warns against Lagos LG poll shift
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State has warned against any plan, either by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) or the Lagos State Electoral Commission (LASIEC), to postpone the scheduled July 22 local council polls.
The party noted that any plan at shifting the election would not only be regarded as illegal and an attempt to rig the exercise “but it would also be vehemently opposed by combined forces of opposition parties and the electorate in the state.”
However, the National General Secretary, Lagos chapter of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Mr. Ayodele Akele has raised the alarm that LASIEC, allegedly in collaboration with the ruling party, is yet to issue the forms for processing of nomination to its candidates barely two weeks o the exercise because of the controversial administrative fees. Akele, who spoke with The Guardian on phone yesterday, said there was no need for such fees as it is unconstitutional.
While addressing members of the PDP at the party’s secretariat over the weekend, the Chairman, Segun Adewale, who is of the Ali Modu Sheriff’s faction, said the council election is expected and must hold as scheduled.
He noted that the election should not be determined at the disposition of the aggrieved members of the ruling party who have been complaining seriously since the APC’s controversial local government primaries.
According to Adewale, “It was very obvious that the APC was not so ready for the election and its leadership is allegedly doing everything possible to ensure it is postponed.”
He also alleged that that the APC is only waiting to sit somewhere and write the results of the election in its own favour, saying: “In the first instance the ruling party ought not to have been allowed to participate in the poll, if we are in a sane and lawful society giving the fact that it currently does not have its candidates’ list ready due to its controversial primary held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on May 27.”
He posited that all over the states, posters and banners of the PDP local government candidates are everywhere and they are also campaigning, “which are signs of our readiness but that is not the case for APC due to its ongoing reaction of its members to its imposition of candidates. They just want to sit down somewhere and write the results but we are working out strategies to counter that.”
Adewale also charged the leadership of LASIEC to remain neutral and not to allow itself to be controlled by forces of government or security agents.” In another development, the running-mate of the PDP chairmanship candidate for Ikeja local council, Princess Oluwafunmilayo Eke-Oparaku, has expressed optimism that the party would repeat the 2015 success in the coming exercise.
Speaking during the party’s flag off of campaign, she added that women should be allowed to fulfill their political ambitions. According to her, “The PDP has ruled the country for 16 years but we women just made our presence felt in Lagos. With the political situation in Nigeria and because APC have been dominating Lagos, most people felt that any other party is not in existence so our rally now is to tell the people that our party is very much alive.
“Though we are not the way we used to be at the national level, but I believe that what happened in 2015 will be replicated on July 22. Today Lagos PDP has representatives in the House of Representatives. This has never happened before.
The NCP National Secretary urged the people of Lagos to stand up against the antics of APC, “otherwise it would destroy the democracy that we all worked to achieve.” He also said the alarm over the plan to postpone the council poll was genuine. According to him, “I would not be surprised if it happens because APC is capable and desperate to do anything.”
He also alleged that the APC is manipulating the process of the election to create room for the crises surrounding its controversial council primary to settle adding, “that’s the reason the APC is desperate to postpone or either manipulate the process.”
However from The Guardian investigations, other political parties in the race, despite having gone to court to challenge the payment of administrative fees, have paid to LASIEC to avoid the disfranchisement of their candidates and supporters by the commission.
According to a source, “Since we have been to court over the issue and the presiding judge said the fees is small and payable, we have no choice but to pay otherwise we would be disfranchised. If the court however reversed itself later we would definitely claim our money to the last kobo from the commission. But if we allow them to use that as a strategy to knock us out, we may not be able to reverse the result of the election after July 22.”
Meanwhile, the dust generated by the APC controversial primary is yet to settle as some of its aggrieved members in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area recently carried out a peaceful protest over the imposition of candidates.
The leader of the party in Amuwo Odofin, Alhaja Memunat Ajao said it is high time for the hierarchy of the APC to look into the issue. She warned that the ruling party may lose Amuwo Odofin, except the right thing is done.
When contacted, the Assistant Publicity Secretary, Lagos APC, Biodun Salami said the allegations were cooked up and lacks substance. He said whatever applies to other parties is also applicable to the ruling party as far as LASIEC is concerned “they should go and face their warrant.”