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TMG expresses apprehension over today’s Lagos council poll


Staff of Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) in Yaba loading election materials to be distributed in various local government areas and local council development areas for today’s election. PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU

• Decries LASIEC’s Rebuff Of Card Readers
The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has expressed worries over unremitting violence in some Lagos suburbs, especially Mushin, ahead of today’s Lagos State Council election.

In a statement signed by Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi and Sulaimon Arigbagbu, chairperson and Southwest Coordinator, respectively, TMG expressed dismay that issues surrounding the nomination of candidates are behind the violent tendencies, regretting the “tension building up in some quarters due to undemocratic activities of some of the major political parties in the run up to the election and the impact of such tension for the coming elections.”

While expressing concern about the implication of multiplicity of court cases over candidate selection, the group declared: “We are also concerned about the speed with which the Lagos State House of Assembly passed an amendment to the Lagos Electoral Law regulating the conduct of election to allow for the substitution of a party candidate before the elections.

“The new Bill allows a political party to withdraw and substitute a candidate not later than three days to LASIEC verification.

“It also states that any candidate can withdraw from contesting not later than three days to the election by personally taking a letter of withdrawal to the state secretary of the party involved, who must also personally take same to LASIEC not later than 12noon, three days to the election.”

The group said it was alarmed by the implications and dangers such amendment portends on the credibility of the poll, stressing that conduct of credible, free, fair and legitimate elections cannot be achieved in this kind of arrangement where an amendment took place just three days to the election.

TMG frowned at the “latest pronouncement by LASIEC regarding its planned accreditation plans and observer’s deployment for the poll, further heightened by the refusal of the electoral body to deploy Card Readers for the elections.

“This is an anti-climax to the widely acknowledged improvement to our electoral system during the 2015 general elections. TMG is seriously concerned about plethora of allegations trailing the preparations for the election and the lopsided observer’s deployment plan adopted by LASIEC,” the group stated.

It urged the commission to reconsider its decision on those issues, even as it called on the body to ensure highest standards in the conduct and administration of the council elections by carrying out its responsibilities in accordance with law and without fear or favour.

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