OGSIEC escapes last minute scare, to hold election Saturday

Come Saturday, October 8, residents of Ogun State, will be going to the poll to elect another set of council officials to run the affairs of the Local Governments for the next three years.

This will be the second time in five years that council election will hold under the Ibikunle Amosun-led administration. The last one was on July 21, 2012, during his first term. Those elected then vacated office on July 23, 2015, after which caretaker committees have been administering the councils till date.

One thing that is unique about this poll is that for the first time, election will hold in 57 council areas-the existing 20 local governments and the newly created 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).

Though opposition parties in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and others have shown readiness to participate, it was not an easy route for the electoral umpire, the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC), which had to overcome the last minute scare by the Labour Party (LP), which filed a suit against the electoral body for exclusion of its candidates.

The suit instituted at an Abeokuta High Court, was determined last Friday, when the court ruled in favour of OGSIEC, giving it the go-ahead to hold the election as scheduled.

The acting chairman of LP, Abayomi Arabambi, had filed the suit seeking an order restraining OGSIEC and its chairperson, Risikat Ogunfemi, from carrying on with the conduct of the council poll.

He accused the electoral body of preventing the party’s candidates from participating in the poll by rejecting the necessary documents presented by them before the deadline.

In the originating summons deposed to by Arabambi, state secretary, Olaposi Oginni; and another member, Abdul-Sabur Sina Aroyeun, the LP, sought a court declaration that the date for the collection and submission of parties’ Form CF 001 and CF 002, be extended in order to accommodate the party’s candidates.

The party also prayed the court to determine whether or not, the election can validly hold, without giving forms to all interested parties.

But with the ruling, the coast now seems clear for the electoral umpire to conduct the election as scheduled.

Another issue that also threatens the credibility of the poll is the raging allegations of candidates’ imposition rocking the ruling APC. Though, it’s an intra-party matter, but if not well handled, it might affect envisaged success by the party, considering the array of petitions written by aggrieved aspirants.

Meanwhile, the state police command has read the riot act to members and supporters of parties participating in the election.

The command gave the warning last week, during a meeting convened by the Commissioner of Police, CP Ahmed Iliyasu Psc, with the heads of all security agencies and representatives of all political parties at the command Headquarters Eleweran Abeokuta.

In his address, he assured all that anybody who engages in any act of thuggery, hooliganism and brigandage will be dealt with decisively.

The police boss stated that electoral offences, such as, canvassing for vote during the voting period, snatching of ballot boxes, disorderly conduct and other misdemeanor, would not be tolerated.

He further warned that nobody, apart from the authorised electoral body should announce election results and whosoever did that would face the consequences.

The commissioner, therefore, assured residents of adequate security before, during and after the poll.

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