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Opposition parties express readiness for LG poll

By Gbenga Akinfenwa
24 July 2016   |   2:02 am
Towards the October 8, Local Government election in Ogun State, opposition parties have expressed readiness to participate fully in the poll, to alleviate ...

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Towards the October 8, Local Government election in Ogun State, opposition parties have expressed readiness to participate fully in the poll, to alleviate the level of poverty the masses are grappling with, under the ruling party.

Before the date was announced, conflicting signals had trailed the likelihood of the poll, after the exit of the last elected council officials in 2015, after which caretaker committees have been in charge of the 20 council areas till date.

Though it was rumoured the poll was to be conducted around April, the disposition of Governor Ibikunle Amosun ands that of the electoral umpire, the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC) showed the poll was not feasible.

The main opposition party in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said it has decided to participate, because of the insensitivity of the ruling party to the plight of the people at the grassroots.

The party chairman, Sikirulai Ogundele told The Guardian that despite that the government has bastardised the finances of the councils, due to mismanagement of funds, the PDP has decided to participate, in order not to send wrong signals to its members, adding that the election would also serve as a test of the party’s popularity.

“Although, the creation of Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) by government, at this time when the country is facing economic crisis is like seeking cheap popularity, but we are going to participate, considering the insensitivity of the governor of the day, to the plight of the masses. We just need to participate. To sensible politicians, no election should be boycotted.

“We don’t have any grouse over the composition of the OGSIEC members, since the power is vested in the governor to constitute members of the commission, the only thing is their capability to do the job creditably,” he said.

Ogundele, however, noted that the Ahmed Makarfi-led National Executive of the party, which has been judicially authenticated as the main exco of the party, has forwarded a letter to OGSIEC to recognise and accept candidates from his faction. “So, we don’t have any issue on that. As the chairman of the party, we are calling on aggrieved members to come together; we are pacifying them to toe our line. We have set up machinery, working on the aggrieved members for us to be a united party.”

The Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), which also confirmed its readiness to contest the poll, said; “UPN is ready to shock the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). We are ready to win all the local government elections in Ogun State, knowing fully well that our party is grassroots based.”

According to its chairman, Olufunmilayo Irede Oginni, the party urged the electoral umpire to maintain outright impartiality as an ‘unbiased umpire.’

“We have been hearing that the electoral body would be used against the interest of the public, on no account should OGSIEC screen out candidates of other political parties, if that happens, we shall take legal action accordingly. It is also necessary for Governor Ibikunle Amosun to leave a legacy of enduring democracy by ensuring free and fair elections like former President Goodluck Jonathan. I am proud to declare that UPN is set to form the next government in 2019,” he said.

Recall that the last council election in the state was held on July 21, 2012, into 20 council areas. But with the creation of LCDAs, the next election will be conducted into 57 council areas.