By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
Polirical Stakeholders in Oyo State on Wednesday expressed doubts over the readiness of the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission(OYSIEC) to conduct free, fair and credible elections into the 33 Local Government Areas and 35 Local Council Development Areas of Oyo state.
Speaking at a stakeholders parley organized by OYSIEC held at the House of Chiefs, Secretariat, Ibadan, the stakeholders comprising of Leaders of political parties and civil society organizations specifically emphasized that it was glaring that the commission was yet to prepare fully for the polls if conducted on May 12 as slated by the commission.
According to the stakeholders, as at present, delimitation of wards were yet to be done in the 35 newly created Local Council Development Areas and that despite this, OYSIEC is still insistint on going ahead with its e ame out with election timetable.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Secretary in the state, Mr Emiola Wasiu, Secretary while speaking at the parley maintained that political parties in the state deserved to know how many wards are in each of the newly created LCDAs before the OYSIEC should think of fixing time table or conducting any election if the commission wants to be fair.
“The creation of LCDAs is new in Oyo state, and this is the first time we will be having elections in the LCDAs. We want to know how many wards are in each of the newly created LCDAs”, he asked.
In his question to the OYSIEC Chairman, Mr John Ajeigbe, Oyo state Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Mr. Angel Folorunso, said coming out with election timetable without proper delimitation of constituencies “is like putting the cart before the horse.”
Mr Folorunso wondered how OYSIEC wanted parties to prepare for the council polls without knowing which wards they would present councillorship candidates to contest election.
Responding, the OYSIEC Chairman, Mr John Ajeigbe promised that contrary to the doubts expressed by the stakeholders at the parley, the commission is committed to conducting free and fair council polls.
The OYSIEC Chairman observed that most of the questions asked by stakeholders were products of their mindsets, urging them to divulge themselves of negative mindsets towards the electoral commission.
Apparently irked by the OYSIEC Chairman’s response, Oyo state Secretary of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Pastor Dare Ojo said members of the opposition parties in the state had every reason to have negative mindsets towards OYSIEC, saying, “I believe that our mindsets are correct. During the last time, many of us wasted a lot of money to print posters, handbills and to embark on campaign and mobilization. At the end of the day, council elections were not held again.”
Speaking with newsmen after the stakeholders’ meeting, Oyo state Chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Alhaji Yinka Olona, declared that the meeting revealed that OYSIEC still has a lot of work to do, adding that there were some fundamental issues which OYSIEC failed to properly address during the meeting.