Oyo state chapter of SPN releases press statement following court ruling stopping the forthcoming local government election.
May 5, 2018
COURT ORDER ON OYO LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTION:
OYSIEC must respect the court order, create a democratic avenue to agree on a new date and ready to conduct the poll in accordance with electoral areas created by INEC!
The attention of the Socialist Party of Nigeria, SPN has been drawn to the ruling of the Federal High Court 2 sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State to grant an interim order on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 to stop Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission, OYSIEC from conducting the election scheduled for Saturday, May 12, 2018. According to media reports, the court retrained the OYSIEC from going ahead with its plan to conduct the council poll on the basis of its newly created electoral areas outside the ones created by the INEC.
The SPN agrees that the constitution procedure to conduct election at the local council recognised the INEC to update the voter registration including the electoral areas which has to be handed over to SIEC (OYSIEC) to conduct the council poll. However, we of the SPN see this court ruling especially when court case itself was initiated by members of APC members as a game plan by the Ajimobi/APC-led government in connivance with OYSIEC to prevent the council poll from holding. This is to ensure the ruling party continue to maintain its hold on the LGA and its resources.
The SPN accuses OYSIEC of unholy connivance with APC-led government because the OYSIEC activities have equally aided some of the loopholes upon which the court order was predicated. For instance, several suggestions offered by SPN at different occasions with a view to make the council poll free and credible were rejected, ignored and never respected for once by OYSIEC. Notably among these is the one that suggested to OYSIEC to convene a general meeting of all the existing political parties in the state with a view to initiate a democratic discussion over what should be the attitude of the commission to the LCDA and the newly created wards outside the one recognised by INEC prior to the issuance of time table for the election itself.
It is our belief in SPN that if OYSIEC has complied with this approach it would have gone a long way to avert the recent atmosphere of political confusion around whether the council poll will hold as scheduled or not. Unfortunately, the OYSIEC has not only ignored the SPN suggestions but has unilaterally imposed election time-table which has also be altered at different occasions without prior meeting with political parties even when there was no conclusion over the electoral wards upon which the election itself will be conducted.
The decision by OYSIEC attempting to unilaterally impose nomination fee of N150, 000 and N100, 000 on candidates aspiring for the position of chairmanship and chancellorship respectively is another ground to suspect that OYSIEC is in connivance with the APC-led government to prevent pro-masses parties like the SPN from participating in the election. We believe that the OYSIEC expectation is that political parties like SPN that opposed the nomination fee will approach the court to stop the election from holding. Unfortunately, for the OYSIEC, neither the SPN nor any of the political parties that attended the meeting where the proposal of nomination the fee was presented by OYSIEC has considered the option of court to challenge the fee, not even the leading bourgeois political parties like PDP, ACCORD, and LP.
We suspect that it is the absence of any political parties challenging all of this OYSIEC illegality that, the APC has decided to sponsor some of its members to approach the court to stop the election from holding. The statement issued by another APC group called Unity forum asking OYSIEC to rescind its decision to go ahead with the election is another indication that the court order is a game plan.
Nevertheless, it will be wrong for OYSIEC to go ahead with the scheduled election if truly the commission is restrained by court order to conduct the election. It is in the light of this we welcomed the decision of the OYSIEC to convene a meeting of political parties which was held in its office today, 4/5/18. Unfortunately this meeting which we hoped should be an avenue to discuss this new development with a view to agree on a way forward eventually turned out to be attempt to use political parties in attendance to give credence to illegalities.
SPN rejects any plan by OYSIEC to go on with the election if truly there is a court order against the conduct of the election. Instead we charge the OYSIEC to approach the higher court with a motion to set aside the judgement. This will mean that the OYSIEC must be ready to conduct the election in accordance with the electoral areas recognised by INEC.
SPN also call on trade unions like NULGE and NUT that the welfare and interest of their members are often affected by the character of governance at local government level to also begin to show interest in the struggle to prevail on both the OYSIEC and state government to ensure that individual presiding over the LGA emerges through a democratic election. The active involvement of the trade unions will go a long way to avert a situation whereby the election will continued to be postponed indefinitely.
Given all of this background it is obvious that OYSIEC is an appendage of the APC-led government in the state. It is on this basis we condemn the current composition of OYSIEC while we demand that the electoral body should derive its membership from the elected representatives of workers unions, civil society and professional organisations like NBA and NMA. This is only we can have an independent electoral body that will be representative of the interest of the working people.
Comrade Kolapo Oladapo
The Chairman, SPN State leadership Committee
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