Posted by News Express | 21 July 2017 | 1,176 times
The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has expressed concern over the buildup of tension ahead of the July 22 Local Government elections in Lagos State.
The TMG, in a statement issued on Thursday and signed by Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Chairperson of the Abuja chapter, and Sulaimon Arigbagbu, South-west Coordinator, said it was worried about the incessant violence in some areas of Lagos, particularly in Mushin due to issues surrounding the nomination of candidates and the tension building up in some quarters due to undemocratic activities of some of the major political parties in the run up to the election and the impact of such tension on the coming elections.
“We are also concerned about the speed with which the Lagos State House of Assembly passed an amendment to the Lagos State Electoral Law regulating the conduct of election to allow for the substitution of a party candidate before the elections.”
The new law, the group pointed out, “allows a political party to withdraw and substitute candidate not later than three (3) days to LASIEC verification. It also states that any candidate can withdraw from contesting not later than three (3) days to the election by personally taking a letter of withdrawal to the State Secretary of the party involved who must also personally take same to LASIEC not later than 12 Noon, three (3) days to the election."
TMG is also worried about the implications and dangers the amendment portends for the credibility of Saturday's elections.
“Conduct of credible, free, fair and legitimate elections cannot be achieved in this kind of arrangement with an amendment taking place just three days to election.
“We are also apprehensive of the implications of the multiplicity of court cases relating to party candidatures given the fact that the election is just three days away. Such conflicting decisions could cast aspersion on the credibility and legitimacy of the elections,” the group warned.
It further expressed displeasure over the latest pronouncement by the authorities of LAISEC regarding its planned accreditation plan and observer’s deployment for the election.
“Our concern is further heightened by the refusal by LASIEC to deploy card readers for the conduct of this coming elections. This is an anti-climax to the widely acknowledged improvement to our electoral system during the 2015 general elections.
“As a flagship organisation on election and governance monitoring in Nigeria, TMG is seriously concerned about the plethora of allegations trailing the preparations for the election and the lopsided observer’s deployment plan adopted by LAISEC.”
TMG urged the LASIEC to reconsider its decision on the issues of concern, and to ensure the highest standard in the conduct of the council elections, by carrying out its responsibilities in accordance with the law.
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