A coalition of aggrieved political parties that participated but lost in the last week’s Local government and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) election in Ogun State yesterday called for urgent review of the electoral act that gives the States’ the right to conduct council elections.
The group called for total scrapping of all State Electoral bodies that, at present has the right to conduct council election.
The Act allows the State Governors the right to constitute an electoral body to organise the councils election.
Last week’s election was organised by the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC) and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) won all the 57 Chairmanship seats.
Besides, out of the 249 Councillorship seats, it (APC) cleared 246 while Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) won two seats and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won one seat.
But some of the opposition parties, under the aegis of “Coalition of All Opposition Parties”, at a Press Conference in Abeokuta yesterday insisted that so far as State Electoral bodies, constituted by State Governors are responsible for organising council elections, such elections could never be free, fair and transparent.
The UPN Governorship candidate in the 2015 election, Otunba Olatunde Rotimi Paseda who spoke on behalf of the coalition called on the National Assembly to, as a matter of urgency initiate moves to amend the electoral Act to give room for the INEC to conduct councils election.
He disclosed that the aggrieved parties which included the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Labour Party and People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) “call on the National Assembly to review the section of the constitution that empowers the state governments to conduct Local government elections with a view to avoiding a rape of our democracy”.
Paseda hinted that the aggrieved parties in collaboration with other stakeholders would soon sponsor a bill at the National Assembly to scrap the State electoral bodies.
According to them, last week’s election was marred by massive rigging and thuggery and therefore the results were unacceptable to voters,
” It is a rape of democracy and disappointing for an agency like Ogun state Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC), perceived to be an unbiased umpire in conducting a free and credible election, to have turned itself to a day light ‘robbery agency’”.
“The irregularities demonstrated during the elections, which were widely discredited by the majority of the electorate and concerned stakeholders, led to the demand for an outright cancellation so as to pave way for true manifestation of democracy”.
“This call became imperative following several records of ballot box snatching, stuffing of ballot papers, sporadic gunshots, harassment of the electorate and party agents by security operatives, among many factors of intimidation and discouragement of voters”, Paseda affirmed.
He added “It is appalling that our candidates and agents could be arrested and detained in police cells across the state during the election period under the instructions of some APC chieftains in the state”.
Paseda however challenged Amosun to work in the street with him without his security operatives to know the most popular among them.
The State Secretary of LP, Mr. Sunday Oginni described the disqualification of their candidates from the election as fraud and therefore called on DSS to arrest and prosecute the Judge that presided over their case and OGSIEC.
He assured that the opposition parties would work together to take power from the APC in 2019.