By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The Chairman of Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC), Mr. Jide Ajeigbe on Monday declared that there will be no going back in the holding of local government election in the state on Saturday May 12th 2019.
Mr Ajeigbe stated this in Ibadan while speaking on the protest by members of the Socialists Party of Nigeria (SPN) over alleged deliberate attempt by the OYSIEC o exclude the party from the forthcoming local government election in Oyo state.
The OYSIEC Chairman said as far as the commission is concerned, the May 12 date of the local government election remains sacrosanct.
Mr Ajeigbe stressed that there was no basis for any of the register political parties, residents and voters participating in the forthcoming local government election in the state to entertain any fear or expressed doubt in the readiness of OYSIEC to conduct free, fair and credible election come Saturday May 12th 2019.
The OYSIEC Chairman maintained that the commission “is not in any way planning to sideline any of the registered political parties in the country”, saying, ” once a political party is registered, we don’t have option to carry them along”
“Once they are registered, it is the function of OYSIEC to take care of them. We published in the papers which they read. The timetable, we released it to them, they don’t have to come here and go on protest. They should have come here, there are means they can reach me. The door is open, instead of them to come to the office, they come in batches and start to protest. We are running open administration here, if they have issue with the commission, let hem come here and ask us we are all here and the public have seen our timetable.” he said
The OYSIEC Chairman added “I don’t know that, I am not aware if any political party is boycotting the election. See, I am running an election administration here, I don’t know if any party is boycotting the election. And not party has written to us that they want to boycott the election. But for me, we publish our activities openly. We will continue to educate them and acramatise them. May 12th is the date of the election. And it is like that. And no matter how the challenges, the election is holding and it is sacrosanct”.
However, SPN members led by the Oyo state Secretary of the party, Comrade Abiodun Bamigboye,
during their protest and the entrance og OYSIEC headquarters at Agodi in Ibadan accused the commission of deliberate attempt to exclude the party from the forthcoming election
SPN during the peaceful protest handed down a protest letter titled “LETTER OF PROTEST TO DEMAND FOR A MEETING OF ALL THE EXISTING POLITICAL PARTIES IN THE STATE WITH A VIEW TO AGREE ON ELECTION TIMETABLE THAT WILL ENJOY THE CONSENT OF ALL” to condemned whatever meeting OYSIEC might have had with some selected political parties as well as the decision reached in the process”.
“We of the SPN welcome the decision of both the Oyo State government and the OYSIEC to conduct local government election, as it is long overdue. We however consider the non-invitation of the SPN to the meeting as a deliberate action by OYSIEC to sideline the party having humbled the Independent National electoral Commission, INEC, with political and legal struggles, lasted for three and half years, which forced its registration. The OYSIEC did not only choose not to invite SPN for its February, 7, 2018 meeting but also has refused to avail us an official copy of the detail of the alleged election time table and it related schedule of activities.” It said
The party added “It is in the light of this suspicious and unwarranted “oversight” that SPN consider it so necessary not only to protest against its exclusion from the preparatory process of the election by OYSIEC but also seek to know whether there is any criterion outside the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria that SPN has to fulfil before it can be recognised as a political party by the OYSIEC.
” SPN queries the propriety of whatever meeting OYSIEC might have had with some selected political parties as well as the decision reached in the process. SPN holds that such a meeting was highly undemocratic and capable of undermining the credibility of the so called LG poll. Therefore, referring to such a meeting as a “stakeholder meeting” is tantamount to feeding the public with wrong information as it is obvious that the decision of such a meeting among a handful of selected political parties in the state cannot be said to be a true representation of the view of generality of the existing political parties in the state.
“It is in the light of this, that SPN, therefore urges OYSIEC to convene a fresh meeting of all the existing political parties with a view to arrive at an electoral timetable that will enjoy the input and consent of all political parties in the state. Except the OYSIEC conducts the proposed local government elections in Oyo State in this kind of democratic manner, the planned elections across LGA and LCDA in the state will end up being a smokescreen through which APC-led government continue to perpetrate their grip over the 33 LGA and its resources in the state.