Lagos PDP commences sale of forms for council polls
• APC hopes to capitalise on opposition’s weaknesses
Despite the national leadership crises facing the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Lagos State chapter has expressed confidence it will control the grassroots structure of the state from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the coming local government elections.
The PDP, which lost six of its lawmakers in the Lagos State Assembly to the ruling APC, has commenced preparations for the chairmanship and councillorship elections into the 20 local government and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) of Lagos, which was slated to hold on Saturday July 22.
The party’s preparations is coming on the heels of the recent announcement by the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) to conduct the elections after much delayed by the Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration two years after its inauguration on May 29, 2015.
Speaking during the general meeting of the PDP, which was organised for interested aspirants, the State’s Chairman, Mr. Moshood Salvador implored members and aspirants for the polls to put their houses in order and ensure their documents are intact.
Salvador charged the aspirants to follow dully the requirements of LASIEC for the exercise. According to him, “For you not to be screened out or have issues after the elections, you must adhere strictly to the rules of LASIEC. All the necessary documents such as birth certificate, curriculum vitae and tax clearance among others must be attached and updated as at when due.”
He urged the party members not to be lackadaisical towards meeting the requirements of LASIEC.” He warned that the laws may serve as a bait and leverage for the APC to challenge the winners of the polls, saying: “For this reason we have to leave no stone unturned and be aware that any slight mistake may cause us a lot.”
Salvador said that one of the beauties of democracy is that the fact that the APC is in power does not mean the party or the candidates it is going to field in the elections are the favorites of the electorate.
The PDP chairman also assured the PDP aspirants that LASIEC has vowed to be fair in the conduct of the elections and that nobody would be intimidated during the exercise “we are going to hold LASIEC by its promises.”
To ensure utmost preparedness the party has also commenced the sales of forms to aspirants. The forms to be purchased by the aspirants include the Expression of Interest Form, Nomination Forms and payment of party dues.
The party also announced that its ward primaries would start from May 9 while that of the local government would hold on May 16. Contrary to speculations that the PDP would be no match for ruling party in the council elections, Salvador said, “Our party is in better position to win majority of the posts in the council elections.”
According to him, “The Lagos masses have fallen out with the APC and we are ready to turn things around for the better in Lagos starting from the grassroots. Our chances of winning and performing better than we did in 2015 are higher than expected now. What we need do is to work tirelessly in our different jurisdictions to ensure that victory.”
While the PDP however hopes to take advantage of the disenchantment of the people against the APC, the ruling party’s Spokesman, Mr. Joe Igbokwe said the election is more or less a walkover “because the PDP is not in any ready mood to give us strong challenge.”
According to him, “Everybody knows that the PDP is almost dead in Lagos. Although, this is not good for our democracy, there is the need for the voice of a viable opposition to put any ruling party on its toes but the PDP is not just in existence to offer that kind of challenge.”
While also responding on how APC tends to regain the areas where it was defeated by the PDP during the 2015 National and State assemblies polls, Igbokwe said, “If out of 40, the opposition won six, are we not in charge of the majority? Unfortunately those who won the seats for the PDP have now joined us, which was clear evidence that the PDP has been a divided house since it lost the general elections in 2015.”
Igbokwe also noted that the major strength of the APC to recover the areas it lost to the opposition party was the performance of Governor Ambode in the last two years.
“I want to assure you that the electorate, both the Lagos indigenes and non indigenes would reciprocate the good gesture of the governor by voting for APC.”
Meanwhile, Justice Phillips has appealed to eligible voters who are yet to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to do so to enable them actively participate in the elections.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of a five-day Bridge Election Professional Development Training organised by the commission in collaboration with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) for the chairman, commissioners, permanent secretary and senior staff, she charged the participants to seize the opportunity to equip themselves with the knowledge and skills required for the conduct of credible elections into the councils.
She also expressed the commitment of the commission to regular training and retraining of all its election personnel so as to keep them up to date with the changing dynamics in electoral processes, both domestically and internationally.
She also expressed the determination of LASIEC to strive to meet the legitimate expectations of the people for hitch-free, credible and successful elections.