Lagos council poll: Factors that aided APC victory
According to the final results declared by the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), the All Progressives Congress in Lagos State won all the Chairmanship seats and 99% of Councillorship seats in the 20 Local Government Areas and the 37 Local Council Development Areas, leaving only four and three councillorship seats to the PDP and Accord parties respectively.
In fact, in some Local Government Areas, candidates of the opposition parties, voluntarily stepped down for candidates of the APC, because of their belief in Governor Ambode’s transformation of the local councils in terms of infrastructural development as their main reason. It is pertinent to give an x-ray of the success of the APC in the just concluded LG Polls.
Despite the seeming internal disagreement within the APC, which is a fall-out of the primaries, APC still carried the day. Predictions of victory for the APPC were neither frivolous nor borne out of over confidence. Lagosians at the grassroots cherish performance and would not hesitate to vote APC for the good works of Ambode to continue in their Local governments and LCDAs. Little wonder then that some candidates of the opposition who have seen the handwriting of defeat, voluntarily withdrew from the race. What Ambode did in the local governments are enough campaign tools for the APC. In two years, Ambode has restored hope of a better life for the maximum number in the local councils.
The average voter out there was less concerned about the acrimony arising from how candidates of a party emerged, but the quality and eligibility of such candidates. Voters in a local council election are swayed by the performance of a party at the state level and this will be a yardstick for measuring the performance of such a party at the local level. In the case of Lagos State, voters could see what government is doing in their councils and it is only a fait accompli that the good works should continue through party men at the helm of affairs in the councils.
The election is an assessment of the programmes of the government at the state level. Without a doubt, the people of Lagos have spoken loudly by giving a pass mark to the administration, as well as in the leadership of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
This is a lesson for those who predicted that the APC would lose the election. The APC in Mushin Local Government polled over 25,000 votes to defeat Accord Party candidates who polled over 9,000 and PDP 4,000 in the Chairmanship and councillorship elections. In Odi-Olowo/Ojuwoye LCDA, APC polled 17,000 to defeat Accord and Labour party candidates who polled 5,000 and 144 votes respectively in the Chairmanship and councillorship elections.
Governor Ambode won his Epe local government convincingly, where APC polled 21,401 to Labour Party’s 948 and same goes for other leaders of the party. This is a confirmation of his popularity and a vote of confidence in his leadership.
Meanwhile, another factor that aided the victory of the APC in the LG Polls is the confusion and apprehension in the camp of the PDP before the election, concerning which faction will be confirmed as the authentic executive of the party by the impending Supreme Court judgment, which was eventually delivered on July 12, 2017. Against all expectations, the Makarfi led faction was pronounced the authentic national executive of the PDP. This made all the candidates of the PDP that were of the Sherif faction null and void and threw confusion into the PDP camp. No voter would want to waste his or her vote on a candidate that may later be declared illegal by the court.
The quality of candidates presented by the APC is another factor responsible for its victory. Many of the candidates have been tested and so they could be trusted. For instance, the decision of the party leadership to return 18 Local Government Chairmen who served as Council Chairmen in 2011 and were promised a second term for their good performance turned out to be a wise decision. The candidates who were former council chairmen needed not much campaign because the people knew they had done well in the past and were willing to give them another chance.
Local and International observers who monitored the exercise have described it as a success, though with some reservations. There was low turnout of voters, which may be largely due to the heavy downpour on the day of election and this kept many voters indoors. There is also the high possibility of inadequate voter education, which made many voters indifferent to the election, which was supposed to attract a huge voter turnout due to its nature as a grassroots election. Despite the foregoing shortcomings, the election was a huge success as LASIEC did all to make it conform with international best practices.
• Akintunde wrote from Iyana Ipaja Lagos
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