By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) Oyo State chapter on Tuesday kicked against the fixing of May 12 for the conduct of elections into the 33 Local governments and the 35 Local Council Development Areas in the state by the State Independent Electoral Commission
SPN in a statement by its Oyo state Secretary Comrade Abiodun Bamigbose made available to newsmen in Ibadan described the processes that led to the fixing of the May 12 date as purely “undemocratic’. and that such could lead to manipulation of election results.
“The Socialist Party of Nigeria, SPN, Oyo State chapter welcomes the decision of both the Oyo State government and the Oyo State independent electoral commission, OYSIEC to finally agree and decide to conduct local government election, which is long overdue, across the 33 local government areas in the state. However, SPN decries the process that led to the decision to conduct the said. election on the May 12 2018 as it is highly undemocratic and capable of giving room for a criminal manipulation of the outcome of the election.” It said.
According to the party, the OYSIEC Chairman “Mr John Ajeigbe, who was solely appointed as the chairman of OYSIEC by the Senator Abiola Ajimobi-led APC government in the state unilaterally announced on Friday February 2, 2018 during a press conference in Ibadan that election into 33 local government areas (LGAs) and 35 local council development areas (LCDAs) in state has been rescheduled to hold on Saturday May 12, 2018” adding that “to the best of our knowledge in SPN, the commission only unilaterally arrived at this decision without creating avenue for a prior discussion over what should be the character of the election among all the existing political parties in the state.”
“SPN condemns this approach which we believe is undemocratic and capable of undermining the credibility of the entire election as it could give room for the process and outcome of the election itself to be manipulated in favour of candidates of the APC. We therefore call on the leadership of OYSIEC as a matter of urgency to set in motion the process to convene a meeting of all the existing political parties in the state with a purpose to subject the so called May 12, 2018 date to a democratic discussion among representative of political parties. Such a discussion must also accommodate a review or modification of the existing unilateral modalities, if there is any popular opinion for such.”
SPN added that “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”.
The party stressed that ” it is also possible that, in agreement with APC, other pro-capitalist parties like PDP, SDP, LP, ACCORD, AD, APGA etc. in the state will share both the electable and unelectable positions at the local government levels among pliable elements or family members/acolytes of the bourgeois politicians including the Governor and his associates.”
SPN maintained that “In other words, those that may emerge from such flawed and undemocratic process are elements that can easily be manipulated or used as rubberstamp for the looting and mismanagement of local government funds.”
“In the light of this, SPN calls for a public probe panel composed of elected representatives of trade unions, communities, artisan groups and youth organisations to carry out extensive investigation into finances of local councils in the state both under Senator Ajimobi-led government and the past governments formed by other political parties like PDP and AD”.
However, New Nigerian reliably gathered from OYSIEC that a stakeholders meeting initiated by the commission is slated for Wednesday (February 7) at the Oyo state House of Chiefs in Ibadan on the May 12 council polls in Oyo state.
According to the OYSIEC source, all the registered political parties in the state have been invited to the stakeholders meeting.
It will be recalled that the OYSIEC Chairman,Mr John Ajeigbe at a press conference last Friday announced Saturday, May 12 as the new date for local government elections in the state.