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PDP Chides Fashola, APC Over Delayed Council Poll


Fashola Is Playing Double Standard

THE main opposition party in Lagos State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has lashed out at the state Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola for his indifference to the conduct of the Local Government election.

  The party described the Executive Secretaries installed in the 20 local governments and 37 local council development areas (LCDAs), to serve in transitional capacity as illegal and embarrassment to democracy, adding that the governor is playing double standard.

  In an exclusive chat with The Guardian, the Publicity Secretary of PDP, Taofik Gani, who said the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governor are not willing to conduct the poll, hinged the claim on the party’s dwindling popularity, which may likely expose it weaknesses ahead of the general elections. 

  “They are not willing to conduct any election; it is not for anything but the fact that their popularity is dwindling and if they conduct the election they will lose and be exposed ahead of the general election.”

   He noted that Fashola is being economical with the truth, because of the party’s imminent failure at the poll, stressing that the party is no more popular as being pronounced, hence the need to leave the stage for a more popular party that would transform the fortune of the people. 

  Almost four months after the exit of the democratically elected council officials, there is sign that election may not hold in March, as promised by the governor.

 Fashola had revealed in January during the swearing-in of the Executive Secretaries that the officers were inaugurated to serve in transitional capacity till the end of March, “hoping that by then all will have been sorted out with the voter register, and then we go to the elections to elect officers into all levels in the local government structure.”

  But as at now, there is no pointer to that direction, as the issue of voter register and other challenges listed by the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), are yet to be sorted out.

  Prior to this time, LASIEC had laid claim to its inability to complete the process of compiling voter register on schedule and the need for delineation of more polling units as major challenges.

  The Guardian has authoritatively confirmed from a source in LASIEC that no date has been fixed for the poll. The source said the commission had submitted its proposal to the governor since September 2014 and nothing has been heard from government.

  Our investigation also revealed that a meeting of major stakeholders was held last Wednesday, but they could not reach any consensus, not to talk of picking a date.

  Towards the end of 2014, the perception was that no council election would hold till after the 2015 general elections. Even though government denied it, it is now clear that if the council poll will ever hold, it will be after the general elections.

  Gani alleged that Fashola is speaking from the two sides of his mouth. He claimed that the governor told the public during the inauguration of the caretaker committees that “while it is true that it is the State Independent Electoral Commission that has the responsibility for conducting council poll, the register used for the election, are those compiled by INEC, because compilation of voter registration is a federal responsibility that is carried out through INEC and as at the time the tenure of the last local government chairmen and elected councilors expired, all of us were aware that INEC was still conducting update of voter registration and the record is still yet to be complete. 

  This has made it difficult to issue election notices… “He said it was the same Fashola who was tongue-lashing INEC for postponing the general elections.

  “Fashola claimed it is important to get the Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) for the local government election, whereas he is also claiming that the general election should hold, despite the non availability of the cards. This is double standard. We are demanding that Section 7 of the Nigeria Constitution, which states that democratically elected local government election must be observed should be strictly adhered to, meaning that they must conduct the poll. The executive secretaries put in place remains illegal and an embarrassment.

  “A governor, who is a lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) should not ignore such provision. This ambition is the desperation to win Lagos State in 2015. The Executive Secretaries have been sworn in at this time to manipulate the elections at their domains for APC. They will fail and this time Lagosians will vote against APC for depriving them democratic local councils,” Gani stated.

  The Publicity Secretary, who ruled out the possibility of his party taking the state government to court because it will take time, said it would continue to use the media to advocate for a change.

   The tenure of democratically elected council officials expired on October 29, 2014. It is long overdue for fresh elections to have been conducted, to pave way for duly elected officials.

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