A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, Fouad Oki has warned that any attempt by the state government to put in place Caretaker Committees in the 20 Local Government Councils and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDA), would be met with stiff resistance by the people.
Oki accused the government of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of trying to subvert the will of the people and pandering to some interest by trying to avoid conducting council election.
In a letter titled: “Lagos State Local Government Election: LASIEC should rise up to the occasion lest it become Odious”, the APC chieftain said that although the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) has issued guidelines for the conduct of the council election, there is nothing on ground to suggest any seriousness on the party of the electoral umpire.
He said: “The tenure of elected 20 local government chairmen and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) in Lagos State is expected to end on July 25. 2021having been sworn into office on July 25 2017.
“The Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) conducted the last local government election on July 22, 2017 for a four-year tenure.
“The third schedule part II (B), Section 4 (a) Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 provides for the establishment of LASIEC with the primary duty to “organize, undertake and supervise all elections to Local Government Councils within the state.
“Section 21 of the LASIEC Law provides that the Notice of Elections shall be published not less than 90 days before the date of election in conformity with section 30(i) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
“Going by the afore-stated, LASIEC would be expected to publish a notice of Local Government elections in the State not later than 222nd April, 2021.
“On 13th April 2017, the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), published a Notice of elections into the office(s) of Chairmen and Councillors in the 20 LGs and 37 LCDAs in Lagos State with a full schedule titled: ‘Release of Election guidelines – Publication of Election Guideline’ after an exhaustive stakeholder’ consultations. Unfortunately, the reality on ground is not showing any seriousness on the part of LASIEC that the Commission is ready for Local Government elections.
“There are concerns that LASIEC is budging to shenanigans of the State government and its political benefactor from holding local government elections as at when due.
“The plan is to introduce Caretaker administrations in the local government the same way it was done between 2014 to 2017 despite a court ruling that LASIEC should conduct election forthwith, following an earlier suit filed by the party, a Lagos State High Court had in 2015, declared the caretaker committees administering local governments in the state as null and void and ordered that elections be conducted within 90 days.
The state government appealed the judgement ostensibly to buy time for two years before conducting elections in 2017. We should not allow this to happen.
“All people of conscience should rise up to challenge this impunity and brazen robbery of democratic norms.”
Oki said that caretaker government in a democracy is an aberration as it is not a representation of the people.
He added that even where it is inevitable, it should be temporary in nature to fill a vacuum created by the exigencies of the time.
“A caretaker government is a temporary ad hoc government that performs some governmental duties and functions until a regular government is elected or formed. It usually consists of randomly selected individuals.
“Caretaker governments in representative democracies are usually limited in their function, serving only to maintain the status quo, rather than truly govern and propose new legislation,” he said.
According to him, Section 7 (1), of the constitution guarantees democratically-elected Local Government Councils throughout Nigeria.
“It, therefore, frowns at a situation where a State house of Assembly will amend Local Government administration law to create room for an interim arrangement as being envisage again in Lagos State.
“Section 7(1) is very unambiguous and that no law enacted by any State legislature can supersede the express provisions of the Constitution.
“Any arrangement to amend or provide either by fiat or legislation will be a blatant breach of Section 7 and will be resisted so vehemently that, the #endsars saga will be a child’s play,” Oki warned.
He expressed the need for the state government to take the right step as any action that is contrary to the provision of the constitution would be vehemently resisted.
He said: I urge the Attorney General of Lagos State to advise and guard the Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwoolu on the effect of taking any action that will bring him and his government into disrepute and pitch him against the people of Lagos State who are yearning for fresh election and mandate to officials who will be entrusted with their sovereign franchise for another four years.
“He should also work with the LASIEC to ensure that, the latest date to announce or publish notice of elections is adhered.
“The Honourable Attorney-General is invited to take another look at a letter written by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, for immediate disbandment of caretaker committees and restoration of elected local government representatives across the states of the federation.”