Thursday, 26 September 2013

Offa LG rerun – Should we cheer our SIECs or weep for democracy

From the days of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) (either old or new, PDP is PDP), has always been a dirty and unintelligent rigger of elections, perhaps its Federal might can be deduced as one of the reasons for its lackadaisical way of doing things. They don’t seem to care about what people say about what they do and that is why they’ll never ‘give a damn’ about whatever you say about them.
Unlike the defunct ACN which is ‘good’ at its game, it plays it perfectly and smoothly and it enjoys media buzz as well as public sympathy; reason why it easily gets away with many of its excesses.
Credible polls are scarce in this part of the world, until last year when we had credible Governorship ones in Ondo and Edo states, where President Goodluck Jonathan proved many of us wrong that it is possible for the candidate of the ruling party to lose woefully in an election despite all the Federal power behind such candidate, it wasn’t like this in the days of President Olusegun Obasanjo. At least GEJ is better than OBJ in the area of free and fair poll, and I commend him for that.
On Offa poll; it’s no longer news that the August 31st Offa Local Government rerun poll where all PDP candidates in the election were declared winners by the Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission (KWASIEC), has been widely condemned as a ‘broad day light’ robbery by APC among others. The opposition claimed it won the chairmanship post and 11 out of 12 councillorship posts. I laughed when I saw in the news that the result declared was not the ‘authentic result’ of the election, na today we don dey hear fake results?
I saw the whole protest and the brouhaha about the election as supreme disingenuousness on the part of the opposition party, majority of who are defunct ACN members, when they also did the same thing in Lagos about two years ago.

How can we forget October 24th 2011 so soon? The day Local Government
and Local Council Development Area (LCDA) polls were held in Lagos State. Have we forgotten how the results of Ikoyi/Obalende LCDA and other LGAs were delayed by LASIEC for 48 hours without any logical reasons? PDP loyalists, who claimed their own, Babajide Obanikoro, won the Chairmanship election, also cried foul the same way APC loyalists are doing now, but all to no avail.
In spite of all the protests and the public outcry by PDP loyalists, LASIEC after 48 hours declared the ACN candidate winner of the election. Obanikoro headed for the Election tribunal where he was declared winner of the election, but the Appellate court reversed the decision of the Tribunal, because according to Justice Opeyemi Oke of the Appeal Court, “the case exceeded the 30 days time line as stipulated in Section 14 (1) of LG Election Laws of Lagos State.” I am not a lawyer, but that sounds laughable and it also throws up questions about our judicial system, which is not a topic for today.
The election tribunal also declared some PDP candidates winner in other LGAs in Lagos, and this also clears all form of doubt about the incredibility of the election. But there was no noise then, because ACN was involved and they probably own 60% stake in the Nigerian media.
Now that the tables have turned with the Offa poll, the noise is everywhere, ‘activists’ who didn’t see anything wrong in what ACN did in Lagos in 2011, have also lent their voice to condemn what is happening in Offa, bunch of hypocrites.
Of course I’m not an apostle and advocate of injustice and decadence, but the APC should go to the court and just save us the noise in trying to portray itself as a Saint in an act it is also culpable of.
Should we now cheer KWASIEC for paying back the defunct ACN in its own coin just the way LASIEC did in Lagos in 2011, or weep at the rate at which democracy and rule of law has deteriorated in our country?
It’s a crystal clear fact that most State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECS) have failed and have not lived up to billing, most of them are just instruments for achieving the goals of their paymasters. What do you expect when Chairmen and members of the commissions are members of the ruling party appointed by their state governors, neutrality can never be a priority.
To save democracy, should we then ask INEC (with the enormous task of
conducting national elections) to take over the conduct of Local Government polls as recommended by the House of Representatives Committee on Constitution review, all in the bid to restore sanity and protect the integrity of electoral processes at the local councils?

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