LG Democracy: Fayose’s Steps In Ekiti | Independent Newspapers Limited
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LG Democracy: Fayose’s Steps In Ekiti

Posted: Dec 24, 2015 at 8:35 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The constitutional guarantee of democracy at the local governments that is largely disregarded in many states takes breath in Ekiti

THE People Democratic Party, in an election that could be described as one horse race, swept the polls in all the sixteen local government areas and 177 wards across the state.

Aside PDP, other political parties that participated in the polls were KOWA, African People Alliance, United Peoples Party and Peoples Party of Nigeria.

The major opposition to the ruling PDP in the state, the All Progressives Congress, APC, however, boycotted the election inevitably turning the contests into a one horse race.

The APC cited what it described as the lack of independence of the SIEC as its reason for boycotting the election.

The party alleged that the Justice Kayode Bamisile-led SIEC was populated with card-carrying members of the PDP and had indeed approached the court, seeking the removal of the chairman and two other members of the SIEC.

The move was, however, dismissed by the state High Court on Monday, 14th December upon what was cited as lack of evidence. Sulking the APC insisted on boycotting the election that weekend.

Remarkably, despite claims by the SIEC that five parties would participate in the election, there was no sign that the other five political parties participated in the election, as none of their agents were sighted in all the polling units Vanguard visited.

Even more, the election was characterised by much apathy giving credence to the argument of political pundits that the election would be a one horse race.

To Fayose, LG polls was promise kept: But that was not much of a problem for the state governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose who described the election as a promise kept especially given the lack of a local government election in the last six years.

Fayose said he was glad that he was the first governor in the South-West geo-political zone to conduct local government election in the last few years as he flayed at the continued use of caretaker committees to run local governments.

“It is an electoral promise by my administration and we have fulfilled the promise. Today, we stand out as the state that has conducted local government election. We did not expect the unpopular All Progressives Congress to take part in the election.

The APC on its part, however, accused Governor Fayose of squandering N300m on what it described as a sham election even as the party commended voters for boycotting the election. It said the people behaved honourably for staying away from the election boycotted by all political parties except the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The party through its Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun, said the widespread apathy observed across the state was evidence that Ekiti people had rejected Governor Ayodele Fayose and his PDP.

The party described the exercise as a mockery of democratic election, saying an election with a single party participating while also raising PDP members to pose as candidates of obscure parties would never

The shortcomings nonetheless, political pundits were quick to point out the importance of having elections at the grassroots as provided for by the constitution.

Local governments in Ekiti State are enjoying the benefit of democratic structures for the third time. The first local government election in the state was conducted by the Niyi Adebayo administration and the second by the Segun Oni administration in 2008 before the latest last weekend.

Those elected in 2008 were forced out in 2010, when Dr. Kayode Fayemi emerged as governor of the state and were replaced by caretaker committees.

Caretaker committees

Efforts by the Fayemi administration to conduct elections into the councils which began with the reconstitution of the SIEC in 2012 were thwarted by the PDP when it successfully contested the government’s action in court and hence, throughout his tenure, caretaker arrangement was put in place at the 16 local governments.

Justification for LG elections: Speaking with Vanguard, the Commissioner for Information, Mr Lanre Ogunsuyi stated that local government elections are important for the health of democracy in any country. These elections enable ordinary citizens to become responsible for the financial and administrative affairs of their areas.

“By taking important posts and responsibilities, people feel that they are an integral part of the system, so their stake in the system increases so also their trust and confidence.

“Local government elections are important for backward and under-developed areas of Ekiti States. If these elections are held regularly, people from remote areas will not have to come to the large cities, like Ikole, Oye , Omuo or   Ijero, to furnish complaints in government offices because the problem-solving machinery will be available in their own local government areas.

“It’s not a surprise in the real sense that Governor Fayose conducted a hitch free, riot or thuggery free election. Its in the fundamental DNA of PDP in Nigeria to bring governance closer to the remotest parts of the Ekiti state.

“Fayose kept his promise, and we are living proof to a successful, hilarious and glorious local government election which took place on the 19th day of December 2015 in all the 16 local government areas of Ekiti State.

“As ill luck would have it, the previous AD, ACN, APC,  governments dragged their feet on the holding of local government polls despite  the agitation for such elections by the people at the grass roots.