Three days to council election, Lagos amends law

Justice Ayotunde Phillips

Former Vice-Chairman, Odi Olowo/ Ojuwoye Local Council Development Authority (LCDA) of Lagos State, Rasak Ajala has emerged the chairmanship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for next Saturday’s council polls.

Ajala defeated five other contestants with a margin of 169 votes. His closest rival had nine votes.

Announcing the result after the counting of the votes, the Returning Officer, Tokunbo Afikuyomi declared Ajala as the flag bearer “having satisfied the necessary requirements.” The presence of armed policemen at the Solomon Hall, Odi Olowo Mushin, venue of the election prevented hoodlums from disrupting the exercise.

Meanwhile, what could have been a barrier to Ajala’s participation in the poll on Saturday had been removed by the State House of Assembly, which passed into law the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission Amendment Bill 2017 on Monday, which has also been signed into law by the governor.

The new bill allows a political party to withdraw and substitute candidate not later than three (3) days to LASIEC verification.

It also states that any candidate can 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.

Meanwhile, Ajala has called on other contestants to put the primary behind them and join hands with him in ensuring that APC wins the council.

He also promised to run an inclusive government if elected as he expressed confidence in his party to win the election and LASIEC’s capability to conduct free, fair and transparent exercise.

It would be recalled that some aggrieved members of the APC in the LCDA challenged the outcome of the February 27 primary election in court and secured injunction, which led to the repeat of the exercise yesterday.

Meanwhile, leaders of the APC in Mushin under the aegis of Mushin Concern Leaders during a protest organised at the party’s secretariat, Ogba yesterday demanded for the removal and expulsion of the party’s National Legal Adviser, Dr. Muiz Banire, whom they accused of engaging in anti-party activities. The protesters backed their demand with Article 21 of the Constitution of the party.

The aggrieved leaders alleged that Banire is carrying out anti-party activities towards the council elections by encouraging members of his group to pick tickets of other political parties.

According to the petition signed by Kehinde Babatunde and Tayo Williams, the APC leaders alleged that Banire intentionally neglected his duties to defend APC and the party’s interest by carrying out unauthorised publicity of party dispute without exhausting all the avenues for settlement or redress within the party. In his response, Banire said the protesters are ignorant of what the party’s constitution says.

Worried by he uncertainties still surrounding the process of the council poll few days to the exercise, Oyelaja Abiodun, the running mate to the chairmanship candidate of Accord Party (AP) in Shomolu has warned LASIEC against any undue conduct that may favour any political party.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Abiodun said his party believes in free and fair elections “hence we have been vigorously campaigning in all the eight wards of Shomolu. We have been selling our programmes of a better future to the electorate. As part of our programmes, we will be feeding the aged and widows. Our government will subsidise food products in the local government. We will give allowances to the poor and the disabled in the local government. We will also provide free books and air-conditioned buses to the students. We strongly believe in the deeds of our leader, Kako-Are, a member of the National Assembly on the platform of AP.”

He said the major challenge that may truncate the election “is APC because we have been getting intelligence reports on their desire to rig during the elections. We therefore call on security agencies to ensure full protection of lives and property before, during and after the elections. We specifically request that armed security personnel be deployed to all the polling units in Fadeyi wards of Shomolu because that’s the main ward where the rigging will take place.

“We also demand that all results be declared and announced at the polling units. This will ensure that rigging is eliminated.”

A female chairmanship candidate on the platform of AP in Ikeja, Busola Olorundipe said if elected into office, she would operate an open-door policy irrespective of political affiliation, as she will be reachable.

Another female candidate, who is contesting on Labour Party (LP) platform, Ashietu Busari said she is more than ready to serve the people of Isolo because of her passion and experiences in various fields of human endeavour.



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