25TH JULY, 2021
…24TH JULY , 2021 LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS IN LAGOS AND OGUN STATES IS A SHAM
…ILLEGALLY EXCLUDED POLITICAL PARTIES MUST PREPARE FOR POST-ELECTION BATTLE
…MASS APATHY SHOWS DEEPER HUNGER FOR GENUINE WORKING PEOPLE’S POLITICAL ALTERNATIVE
I write to condemn the sham conducted by the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) and Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC) in the name of Local Government Elections.
The sham that the election would be was already clear to any critical mind in Lagos State , in particular , with the adamant refusal of LASIEC to comply with judgments of Courts on the status of many political parties.
It will be recalled that INEC had purportedly deregistered 74 political parties out of 92 registered ones as at 2019 general elections , without meeting all the conditions under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999 as amended).
Despite 22 out of the 74 purportedly deregistered political parties obtaining a Judgment of the Court of Appeal ordering INEC to reregister the party, INEC failed and refused to do so.
LASIEC and OGSIEC followed suit in this contemptuous disobedience of a valid and subsisting judgment of the Court of Appeal.
It took about 11 political parties out of the 22 political parties , victorious at the Court of Appeal the length of approaching the Federal High Court in Lagos before LASIEC had the opportunity to give them any attention whatsoever. While the Federal High Court had ruled that it lacked jurisdiction on local government elections conducted by LASIEC , the 11 political parties plus the other 11 victorious political parties at the Court of Appeal , including left-leaning political parties like the Socialist Party of Nigeria must now head to the High Court of Lagos State to set aside this sham of an elections. The same position literally applies to Ogun State.
Another case in point is that of Youth Party that was also purportedly deregistered by INEC despite a pending action in Court prior to the purported deregistration. After obtaining favourable Court of Appeal judgment as a party, INEC and LASIEC refused to list the Youth Party. While INEC has gone ahead to file a Notice of Appeal and Application for Stay of Execution on the matter, this does not amount to stay in itself and Youth Party ought to have been listed by LASIEC, if it were to be a law abiding institution.
What would baffle any keen observer was why only 3 or 4 political parties were featured on LASIEC’s ballot paper for most parts of the elections. The quick answer of LASIEC has been that it only featured 15 out of the 18 political parties listed by INEC as currently registered political parties . Another deliberate exclusion of 3 political parties.
It is into this category that the case of the African Action Congress falls. While INEC and LASIEC chose to recognise a Leadership of the party that is unknown to the Party, LASIEC went ahead to exclude the Party completely from the elections.
While it is arguable that the other 11 political parties out of the 15 political parties listed by LASIEC for the elections did not field candidates, the over-centralised electoral system is killing most political parties.
Political parties need to be allowed to operate at local government and state levels and not necessarily by force on national basis. Municipal parties and independent candidacy needs to be allowed.
Going forward, the character of the election was nothing to write home about. According to media reports , it was characterised by massive rigging and irregularities.
The major beneficiary of this outlandish rigging and manipulation is the ruling All Progressives Congress in Lagos State. I challenge the political parties who stood candidates and were cheated to head to the Election Petition Tribunal to challenge the outcome of the elections.
A case in point is the Young People’s Party (YPP) which fielded #EndSARS activists as candidates. This sham of an election must not be allowed to go unchallenged.
Equally, a lot of ruling class elements and fairweather political pundits has blamed the very low voters’ turnout on ignorance.
I disagree strongly . The reality is that the working masses are not fools and are not taps that can be turned on and off by the ruling class and their undemocratic electoral institutions.
The local government elections is the second election held in Lagos State after the #EndSARS uprising, which was heavily boycotted by the people. It only confirms the realization that most working class elements have come to that the political parties on the ballot do not represent their real aspirations. It equally shows the deep hunger for a genuine mass working people’s political alternative.
A storm is brewing in the tea cup!
AYO ADEMILUYI ESQ,
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