Uncertainty Over Council Election Date
BARELY five weeks to the December 19, 2015 date fixed for Ekiti State Local Government Election, the dream of breaking the seven-year jinx, may be a mirage, with the legal proceedings instituted against the conduct of the poll.
Since the chairman of the Ekiti State Independent National Electoral Commission (EKSIEC), Justice Kayode Bamisile (rtd), made the announcement for the election in September, there have been complaints, which could hamper the poll.
At the initial stage, it was the Inter-Party Advisory Council, (IPAC), that raised objection, asserting that the commission did not carry them along in fixing the timetable for the election. This was followed by the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), which opposed the choice of the EKSIEC chairman, with the allegation that he is a card-carrying member of a political party, threatening to drag the electoral body to court.
Few weeks after, APC made true its threat of instituting two separate motions in a court of law in Ado-Ekiti, to challenge the improper constitution of the SIEC. A faction of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), led by Tunde Olatunde, also rushed to the High Court, to stop the nomination of fresh candidates for the party. The faction wants the court to affirm winners of the party primaries conducted in November 2011 as the valid candidates for the election.
It averred that the election of candidates were still valid and prayed the court to declare the nomination of another set of candidates by the Idowu Faleye-led faction, which is loyal to Governor Ayodele Fayose, as illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
Like what happened in 2011, this development raises concern about the likelihood of the poll. To some residents of the state, if the issue is not urgently addressed, it might deny them the opportunity to have democratically elected officials for the next four years.
It could be recalled that the last council election was held under the administration of former governor Segun Oni in 2008, while efforts made by his predecessor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi to conduct same on February 4, 2011 was stalled by a judgment of the Ado Ekiti High Court, which voided the composition of the then EKSIEC.
A resident, Abayomi Agarawu, who disclosed that the legal tussles are rearing their ugly heads for the second time in four years, said the development would not be doing the residents any good because it would hamper participatory government at the grassroots.
In spite of the challenges, the state Governor, Ayodele Fayose has assured that “the council poll would hold as scheduled, in order to lessen the burden on the state government and bring governance closer to the people in the grassroots,” assuring that nothing would stop the election from holding.
But the APC Chairman in the state, Jide Awe, who spoke to The Guardian during the week, maintained that the party is still in court and very optimistic that very soon “I believe we would get result and we would be able to talk.”
When asked if the party’s decision would not ground the conduct of the poll like what happened in 2011, he noted that the party cannot fold its arms in the name of delay and would not register its grievances. “It is not our fault and we cannot say because of that we’ll keep quiet, we wont. I think the court would brace up not to delay justice. When you discover that things are not proper, the court is the only place you have to approach and that is what we have done.”