By FUNSO OMODELEOLA
AS political and non political stakeholders prepare for the forthcoming Local Government elections in Lagos State; opposition parties have strongly criticized the selection and eventual confirmation of four member-commissioners of the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, LASIEC.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), National Conscience Party (NCP) and the Labour Party have berated Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and the State House of Assembly for neglecting due process and flouting the state Electoral Laws which prohibits members of political parties from being part of LASIEC composition.
It will be recalled that Governor Ambode nominate four members Dr. Olubunmi Omosehindemi, Lateef Raji, Chief (Mrs.) Sekinat Famakinwa, and Mr. Aiyedun Olusegun Fasi to the LASIE board and were subsequently confirmed by the Lagos State House of Assembly.
The Clerk of the House was directed to communicate the confirmation to the governor through a letter. Their confirmation came after lawmakers commended the nominees for their consistency and loyalty to their fatherland.
Dr. Omosehindemi was commended for his exploits in alternative medicine even as an orthodox medical doctor and for his role in fighting the past military government of Nigeria before the current civilian dispensation came into existence in 1999.
Lateef Raji was also praised for being an activist who fought for the current democracy and for his performances under the last government as the Special Adviser on Information and Strategy.
The Speaker observed that all the nominees have done well in their various fields of endeavour and stressed that the House of Assembly does not doubt their ability to put in their best for the state in organising credible elections at the local government level.
However the PDP, in a statement issued by its State Publicity Secretary, Taofik Gani claimed that the particular inclusion of Lateef Raji as LASIEC Commissioner to conduct council polls in Lagos State was an unequivocal resolve by the Governor Ambode to rig the proposed polls in favour of his Party, the All Progressives Congress, (APC).
In his words “Lateef Raji has always been a card carrying member of parties. From AD, which he acted as chairman during the factionalization, to being a member of AC; ACN and now the APC; he just served as Special Assistant to former Governor Babatunde Fashola.
“He presently has his posters and banners in Lagos and Ondo States to contest the Ondo governorship election. He is thus unfit and improper to act as umpire in a contest which APC will contest in,” the party said.
According to PDP, the continuous retention of Justice Fatai Adeyinka (retired) as LASIEC chairman and now confirming Raji as LASIEC commissioner is conclusive of APC and Ambode as anti-democrats, despot and desperate to control all the councils in the state.
“This is insulting the sensibilities of Lagos voters, all well meaning persons must condemn this act. The purported commissioner and the LASIEC chairman must be removed to allow for reasonably fair polls.
“If they are not removed, the APC can as well continue to violate the political rights of Lagosians to vote for their choice in a free and fair election. They should continue in the illegal, unconstitutional and fraudulent Local Councils now headed by aberration Executive Secretaries”
“The PDP project that the coming council polls to be superintended by Governor Ambode is obviously going to surpass the previous polls in the acts of rigging and imposition. It would be recalled that the last council polls results were announced by LASIEC with no figures,” the party said.
According to PDP, “The areas we won like Badagry, Agbado-Oke Odo, Ikoyi-Obalende, Somolu, and so on were hijacked by LASIEC acting the script written by the former governor. This may not be different”
“The PDP counsels the Ambode-led APC government to prevent anarchy in the state by doing the expedient, needful, which is constituting a LASIEC that can conduct manifestly free, fair, credible council polls.”
National Conscience Party (NCP) on their part explained to National Daily that Governor Ambode and his party the APC, is not ready to conduct elections into the Local Councils in the State. The party secretariat in Lagos, explained that the inclusion of Lateef Raji may be tested in Court, and this development will give APC the leeway to keep the interim structures in place.
Alhaji Raji Onigiobi a Labour Party chieftain explained that, the posturing of Governor Ambode and the APC leadership in Lagos State; is indicative of non readiness for the Council poll. Governor Ambode is deliberately putting in place structures; that are capable of scuttling the conduct of Council election.
“In over a year they have been waiting on the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), to avail LASIEC a copy of the Voters Register, now they have amended the LASIEC laws to allow the use of Card Readers and they have mitigated a repeat of the Kogi political debacle in Lagos Council election
“Now they have nominated people into LASIEC board, to the uninformed Governor Ambode is putting in place adequate structures, but for us these are time wasting strategies to wear out the opposition and erode their support base.”