Between Ondo LG Polls And November 26 Governorship Election | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Between Ondo LG Polls And November 26 Governorship Election

Posted: May 2, 2016 at 3:30 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

Ondo LG  Polls And  Matters  Arising


 Temidayo Akinsuyi,

Lagos- The much talked about local government election in Ondo, the Sunshine state has come and gone, however the dusts generated by the conduct of the exercise is yet to settle. According to the results released by the Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won all the chairmanship positions in the 18 local government councils of the state just as it won 202 councillorship seats in the 203 wards of the state. The Allied Congress Party of Nigeria won only one councillorship seat while the major opposition party in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and  Social  Democratic  Party (SDP) totally shunned the exercise. However, the dust generated by the conduct of the poll is yet to settle.

The election is the first to be held since the incumbent Governor Olusegun Mimiko took over power in February 2009. The governor had on assumption of office dissolved the elected council administration and replaced them with Caretaker committee that the state government reviews every six months.

To many stakeholders in the state, the local government election will play a significant role in the governorship election in the state slated for November 26 as the newly elected council chairmen are expected to use the resources at their disposal to mobilise the electorates at the grassroots level.

APC, PDP Trade Blames


Prior to the conduct of the exercise which was held on April 23, the APC APC and the SDP had earlier stated their withdrawal from the election, in the light of reasons that the election was already compromised, while accusing the chairman and other members of the Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission of being card-carrying members of the Peoples Democratic Party.


The director of Publicity of the APC , Steve Otaloro, in a statement said there was no authentic voters register for the election, arguing that the register available for use had not been reviewed since the last general election as required by the law. The party also said the state governor, Olusegun Mimiko,and the PDP government could not be trusted to do anything right.

The party also cited a subsisting case on the matter at the Supreme Court by aggrieved elected chairmen under the late Dr Olusegun Agagu-led administration, whose tenure Mimiko terminated on assumption of office in 2009.

“Many times the governor has deceived the people and this election cannot be different. Dr. Olusegun Mimiko is highly deficient in character, integrity and fairness that he cannot be trusted to midwife any free and fair electoral process. To participate is to help massage Mimiko’s ego, support illegality and to allow ourselves to be distracted from our singular mission of wresting power from the PDP in a few months’ time.”

“The governor who had therefore refrained from conducting the local government election for the past seven years for this reason cannot suddenly rush to conduct the same election in less than ten months to the end of his tenure,” the party submitted. The Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission (ODIEC) is composed of PDP card-carrying members. We cannot participate in an election where the Chairman of ODIEC, Prof. Olugbenga Ige and his team are registered members of the PDP. Worse still, those who would preside over our complaints after the election are known sympathisers of the ruling PDP government.”

APC further stated that the election was a waste of public resources at a time when workers in Ondo State were groaning over unpaid five months salaries, while the government was committing huge resources of unknown amount to an election.

“We therefore call on all our sympathisers to remain peaceful and stay at home during these election hours,” the party counselled.

“They should use the opportunity to reflect on the state of affairs of our state and pray for the deliverance of the state from its present day tormentors. In the meantime, not minding the outcome of our application for injunction in the court, we would continue to use all legal means to challenge this outgoing government of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and his party in the wild goose chase they are taking in the name of local government election,” the party said.

The party later approached The Federal High Court sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital seeking to halt the exercise but the case was dismissed by the court which said it lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter, and described the case as an abuse of court process.

In her ruling, the judge, Folashade Olubanjo, said the federal high court did not have the jurisdiction to hear cases involving the conduct of local government election under the purview of state governments and its agencies.

She said it would amount to “judicial pettiness” to proceed with the suit when issues on the dissolution of the former councils were still pending before the Supreme Court.  Ms. Olubanjo also said proceeding with the interlocutory injunction on the case was a mere academic exercise as facts deduced from arguments and counter arguments showed that the suits were gross abuse of court process.

Speaking on the decision of the APC to boycott the exercise, the Publicity secretary of the PDP in the state, Banji  Okunomo, said the party demonstrated cowardice by refusing to participate in the local government election. He posited that by taking such a step, the APC has contradicted its claims that it is fully on ground in the State.

His words: “The only major party that has opted out of the local government election is the APC. To me, this is an act of cowardice.

“As a party that is ruling the nation at the federal level, and a party that is claiming to be on ground in Ondo State, I expected that the APC would participate in the election. But by opting out, it is an admission of defeat.

“Every registered political party has the right to participate in the election and those who do not want to participate also have a right. We are not in the position to compel any political party to participate in the election. It is also wrong for the APC to express lack of confidence in ODIEC. The APC-led federal government appointed the chairman and commissioners of INEC.

“At a time, the president was even alleged to have appointed a relation as the acting chairman of INEC. In any of these cases, the PDP have had to contest in elections. We did not opt out, we participated and won. So, claiming that ODIEC cannot be an unbiased umpire because it is a creation of the present government is a demonstration of negligence on their part.



 APC Hails Boycott


In a statement titled ‘Ondo Council Poll: Thank you Ondo State People’, issued shortly after the exercise,  Isaac  Kekemeke, the APC chairman in the state thanked the party supporters for boycotting the exercise. While describing the exercise as a waste of public funds, he challenged the Ondo state government to announce the amount used in conducting the exercise.

“As a party that treasures the rule of law and democracy, we of the APC advised the State governor against any act that will promote unconstitutionality, and award prodigal space to perfidy. We did all of that to demonstrate the avowed commitment of APC in the State to constitutionality, democracy and the rule of law – the foundation of participatory democracy”.

“When it was clear to our party that the PDP and its government will not be dissuaded from the path of unconstitutionality and their determination to waste the meagre resources of the tax payers on the said puerile council election, we made it known to the good citizens of Ondo State that the APC will not participate in the charade called council poll”.

“Based on our conviction that the people of Ondo State will always thread the path of constitutionality, we appealed to then to stay away from wastage. Today, our party is vindicated. This is evident in the absolute concurrence of the people with our plea, that they should stay away from the poll. The people demonstrated clearly and unequivocally that no-one can pull any wool over their eyes. With this boycott by the people, they have announced their rejection of the polls, the government and the government party. We will not however, be surprised with phoney figures of participation by the ODIEC just to cover this shame”.

“We wish to therefore, first thank the good people of Ondo State for heeding the plea of the APC. They did not only stay away from their respective polling units, they left the entire exercise to the remnants of PDP members in the State. We also thank the SDP, the CNPP, other parties and the progressives still in the PDP who choose not to support illegality and flagrant rape on the electoral law and guidelines. They did that in protest against their informed knowledge that the government was merely set to waste our collective resources and was definitely on an ego trip. As the leading opposition party in Ondo State, it is our duty to ask question especially on major activities of the government. We wish to ask from the PDP and its government, how much the State government spent on the council election?

“Is it true that N6.206billion was earmarked for the election? How much of the fund has gone to private pockets and how much is being reserved for the gubernatorial election in November 2016?” the party asked.

LG Chairmen as Campaign Managers


Speaking with Independent, a member of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties in the state who spoke on condition of anonymity said the major reason why the APC and some political parties objected to the polls was due to the belief that the state governor wants to use the newly elected council chairmen as ‘campaign managers’ at the grassroots  so as to give the PDP an edge during the poll.

“ Aside the fact that the exercise was a waste of public funds, the belief of many stakeholders in Ondo is that the governor deliberately conducted the exercise in connivance with the electoral body so as to appoint those who will serve as campaign managers for the PDP during the forthcoming governorship election. It is a well acted script” he said.


However, Fanegan Akintunde, a PDP member in the state accused the APC of crying wolf over the polls.  While commending the governor for obeying the constitution, he said the APC should have used the election as an opportunity to test its popularity at the grassroots.

“ The election would have provided a good opportunity for the APC to test its popularity at the grassroots, but the party is jittery because they know that they are not popular in Ondo. What alse does APC want from Mimiko? When he appointed caretaker chairmen, they complained, now that he has followed the path of constitutionality and allowed the people of Ondo to conduct those who will preside over their affairs at the council level, they are still kicking against it” he said.










Comments (1)

  • May 2, 2016 at 8:10 am Kingsley Igho

    We keep showing the world by our actions, no matter how educated and elitist we claim to be, that Nigeria’s democracy is still largely infantile. After keeping caretaker LG chairmen and counselors, thereby disenfranchising his people for seven years, the governor now conducts an election in the twilight of his govt. Those suspicious of Mimiko’s decision to hold an election now, less than one year to the end of his tenure are not to blame. Nigeria needs selfless leaders, not those desperate to entrench their fiefdom, while subverting the will of their people. We are watching.

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