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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Mushin apprehension worries TMG

The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has expressed concern over the tension building around the elections for the Local governments and the Local Council Development Authorities (LCDAs) in Lagos State, this Saturday, reports ITRealms.

The TMG, through its Chairperson, TMG – Abuja, AbiolaAkiyode – Afolabi  and South West Coordinator, TMG, Lagos, SulaimonArigbagbu, told ITRealms they were particularly worried about the incessant violence in some areas of Lagos, especially in Mushin due to issues surrounding the nomination of candidates and 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. 

“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,” TMG lamented.

The new bill, they noted, allows a political party to withdraw and substitute candidate not later than three (3) days to LASIEC verification. Just as it also statesd that any candidate could withdraw from contesting not later than three (3) 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 (3) days to the election.

TMG is worried about the implications and dangers such amendment portends on the credibility of the Saturday, 22nd Lagos State Local Government Area (LGA) Council elections as scheduled by LAISEC. Conduct of credible, free, fair and legitimate elections cannot be achieved in this kind of arrangement with an amendment taken place just three days to election. 

Furthermore, we are also apprehensive of the implications of the multiplicity of court cases relating to party candidatures giving the fact that the election is just three days away. Such conflicting decisions could cast aspersion on the credibility and legitimacy of the elections.

“We also express displeasure over the latest pronouncement by the authorities of the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LAISEC) regarding its planned accreditation plan and observer's deployment for the Saturday Local Government Election in Lagos State,” TMG said.

Our concern is further heightened by the refusal by LASIEC to deploy Card Reader for the conduct of this coming elections. This is an anti-climax to the widely acknowledged improvement to our Electoral System during the 2015 General Elections.

 As a flagship organization on election and governance monitoring in Nigeria, TMG is seriously concerned about plethora of allegations trailing the preparations for the election and the lopsided observer’s deployment plan adopted by LAISEC. TMG urges the commission to reconsider its decision on these issues. 

TMG further called on LASIEC to ensure highest standard in the conduct and administration of the coming Lagos LG/LCDAs elections, by carrying out their responsibilities in accordance with law, and without fear or favour.

“We hope that LASIEC is committed to an open, genuine, free and appropriate process that is devoid of any suspicion misgiving in the process leading to the election,” they urged.


Ayo Midele/GEE 
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