LG Elections: Winner Takes All Affair

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•LASIEC Chairman, Retired Justice Ayotunde Phillips.

The local government elections in Lagos conducted by the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) last Saturday has come and gone.  Though the electoral body is yet to make any official pronouncement on the outcome, it is already public knowledge that the ruling party in the state,  All Progressives Congress (APC) won in all the 57 councils- comprising of 20 local government areas and 37 local council development areas (lcdas).

To many it is not a surprise as the ruling party had cleared all won the all the 57 councils in previous elections conducted in 2008 and 2011 under the  Babatunde  Raji Fashola administration

While it can be said that the election was peaceful, it was marred  by voter apathy apparently due to heavy rains that lasted all day which resulted in flooding in most parts of the state keeping many indoors.

During one of the rallies for the elections, Asiwaju Bola  Tinubu had boasted that the PDP would win nothing in the election as APC would sweep the entire 57 councils.  He said that though the party lost some state and national legislative seats to the PDP in some constituencies in the 2015 elections, the APC was working to win back support in the affected councils.

“2015 election was the greatest battle of our time. In the last election, we lost more than three LGAs to our opponents, which is very unusual.

“We have asked our leaders in those local governments to examine what went wrong and work together to chart a new course to ensure the APC wins back those councils. PDP cannot have any share in these council elections,” Tinubu said.

Some of the results from the LGs and LCDAs showed the ruling party winning. In Lagos Island LG, APC won with 14,692 votes while PDP got 925 votes, with the Labour Party taking third place with 1211 votes. APC also won in  Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA with 7112 votes, PDP got 756 votes while LP got  542 votes. In Eredo LCDA, APC received  10910 votes while PDP got 737 votes. The victory continued for the ruling party in Epe LG with the APC getting 21401 votes and LP getting 948 votes.

APC emerged victorious in Lagos Island East LCDA with 9060 votes while  PDP  got 1128 votes.  In Badagry West,  APC swept the LCDA with  5300 votes leaving PDP with 935 votes.  Similarly, in Ejigbo LCDA, APC won  4876 votes while PDP won 1079 votes. In Ikeja LG, APC  got 6191 votes while  PDP  won 990 votes. APC won Ikorodu West LCDA with 3068 votes while PDP got 555 votes.

In Agboyi-Ketu LCDA, APC got 10,701 votes, while PDP got 1,759 votes. Other results were being awaited as of the time the paper went to bed.

The APC had earlier won both the chairmanship and councillorship elections in Ward A6, Polling Unit 033 located in Ogunmodede College, Papa Epe, where the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode voted.

At the end of counting of the votes cast, the results showed that the APC polled a total of 299 votes for the chairmanship election as against one polled by the Labour Party and zero vote polled respectively by the Peoples’ Democratic Party and Accord Party.

For the councillorship election in the unit, the APC polled a total of 293 votes as against one polled by Labour Party and zero polled by PDP. In the second polling unit in the ward, APC polled 298 votes for the chairmanship election as against zero vote polled by the PDP and Labour Party.

Ambode, on Saturday said local government elections would engender participatory governance and revive belief in the electoral process at the third tier of government.

Ambode noted that the election in Lagos State came six years after the last one was conducted.

“I am happy that this election is coming at my own time. The whole idea is for us to evolve a process where the citizens come out and believe in a process that is credible. When the people see credible election at the local government level, they will be excited to participate because they know that it is credible, peaceful and without violence. That is what we have been preaching. Lagos is too cosmopolitan for us not to have a credible election.

“We need to enhance democracy in the country and we can only do it by what we are doing today.”

He said adequate security measures had been put in place to ensure that voters cast their votes in a peaceful atmosphere and forestall any breakdown of law and order.

“So far, so good, from the reports I have received from all the other parts of Lagos State, we are pleased with what is going on. I believe strongly that it will be peaceful throughout,” Ambode added.

Also speaking, the All Progressives Congress’ chief, who is also the Balogun of Epe, Chief Lanre Razak, said the party believed in strengthening democracy, adding that the conduct of the election would develop the political process.

The member of the Lagos State House of Assembly representing Epe Constituency II, Segun Olulade, who cast his vote at the RCM Primary School, Ejinrin, Epe, commended Lagosians for coming out to vote despite the downpour. He noted that the people’s participation in the election would deepen democratic values.

Experiences In Other States

Local  government election was conducted in Abia state in December 2016. Again, it was a winner takes all affair as the Abia State Independent Electoral Commission which announced the results said the ruling party in the state, PDP won all the 17 councils.

Chairman of the commission, retired Justice Igbozurike Akomas, who announced the results  at the commission’s premises in Umuahia added that four political parties – the PDP, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), All Progressive Congress (APC) and Labour Party (LP) participated in the polls.

Same Scenario In Benue

Local government election was also conducted in Benue state in last month. As expected, APC, the ruling party in the state won all the 23 local government chairmanship seats. The party also won all the councilorship positions in the 276 wards of the state with some of the candidates returned unopposed

Chairman of the Benue State Independent Electoral Commission, BSIEC Dr. John Tsuwa who announced the results off the election on Sunday at the headquarter of the commission in Makurdi said the election went without much hitches.

Tsuwa who declined to issue figures garnered by the various parties said, “the figures are not ready at the moment but the APC won all the available positions.” He confirmed that eight political parties participated in the exercise including Accord Party, APC, PDP, SDP, ACB, PPP, LP and NNNP.

He  commended the parties, electorates, security agencies and officials of the commission for ensuring a smooth conduct of the exercise and further expressed happiness that no case of violence or snatching of ballot boxes were recorded in the exercise.

In  Ebonyi state, local government election was also conducted in April 2017 and according to the results announced by the Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission, the ruling party in the state, PDP  won the chairmanship seats of the 13 Local Government Areas of the state.

According to Jossy Eze, the Chairman of the Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission, the party also won all the councillorship seats in the 171 wards of the state.

According to him, seven political parties participated in the elections out of the 40 registered parties in the state, including the PDP and the APC.

Also in Gombe, PDP, in Gombe State has won all the seats contested in the Council polls conducted in February this year.

Announcing the result, Caleb Maina, Chief Returning Officer and Chairman of the Gombe State Independent Electoral Commission, GOSIEC, stated that PDP won all the 114 councillorship and 11 chairmanship positions.

Mr. Maina listed those who won the chairmanship positions as Jani Bello (Akko), Bakari Kaltuma (Balanga), Faruk Lawining (Billiri),Abdulqadir Rasheed (Dukku), Yusuf Ibrahim (Funakaye) and Sani Dogarai (Gombe).Others were Abubakar Danzaria (Kaltungo), Hassan Marafa (Kwami), Hamza Dadum (Nafada), Danladi Garba (Shongom) and Haruna Samanja (Yamaltu-Deba).

Mr. Maina said the law establishing GOSIEC had empowered Presiding Officers to announce those who won as councillors at the polling units.

“Respective results for the councillors election had already been announced, which indicated that PDP won all the councillor seats in all the 114 wards of the 11 local government areas. He said that the state chief judge had already established a panel to entertain petitions from those dissatisfied with the outcome of the election.

Speaking on the development, a public affairs analyst, Michael Bamidele said the only way to prevent a winner takes all affair in the conduct of local government election is to take the control of the State  Independent Electoral  Commission from the hands of the state government. He said the ruling party will continue to win as long as the governor is the one who appoints the state chairman of the Electoral commission.

“You can’t expect a different result in a case whereby it is the state governor who appoints the electoral commission chairman. Such a body cannot be said to be independent” he said.

Another public affairs analyst, Chima Ugbane said “No ruling party of any state in Nigeria ever lost local government elections to opposition party even though the incumbent perform woefully or not.  It is a sad development that needs to be urgently addressed.”

Contribution By: Temidayo Akinsuyi

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