It appears the tenure of the commissioners and the chairperson of the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) would be extended by the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, as members of the state’s House of Assembly, on Monday, during plenary amended a portion of the law establishing the electoral umpire.
The lawmakers amended the law by creating a subsection for Section 2. The newly added subsection 5 empowers the governor to extend the tenure of the commission based on exigencies.
According to the Majority Leader, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, the amendment is permitted by existing law.
Also, the Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Public Petitions and LASIEC, Hon. Victor Akande, explained that the amendment was to resolve the lacuna that could occur between the period the tenure of the commission elapses and when new members were appointed by the governor.
“The bill is just for a singular amendment or a fraction of the law and the major issue is that it is seeking for us to give the governor a leverage in case of scarcity of time,” he said while urging his colleagues to support its passage.
Contributing, Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti-Osa 2) said that the amendment was in good faith for the progress of the state and effective running of the government.
Yishawu suggested that the amendment should be in such a way that there would be recourse to the House should there be any reason to extend the tenure of the commission.
On his part, Hon. Tobun Abiodun (Epe 1) supported the amendment and noted that it was being done to “ensure we abide by the law.”
He noted that the amended portion of the law states that if the tenure of the commission expires when the government yet to make fresh appointments, the tenure could be extended by six months.
The Speaker of the House, Rt. (Hon) Mudashiru Obasa, explained that the portion of the law was being amended to meet the exigencies of time.
He noted that the amendment became expedient to ensure that the process leading to the effective conclusion of the local government election in Lagos State was not hampered as a result of the soon-to-end tenure of the members of LASIEC.
Obasa asserted that a legal extension of the tenure of members of the commission would help them effectively conclude the elections with the backing of the law.
He pointed out that an additional six months as suggested by the bill was too wide since the period was simply meant to perfect fresh appointments.
While suggesting a reduction of the time period to three months, the Speaker also opined that the request for such extension should be subject to a review and approval of the House.
He, however, directed the Clerk of the House, Mr. Olalekan Onafeko, to pass the clean copy to the governor for assent.
It woule be recalled that following the resignation of Hon. Justice Afolabi Abdulfatai Adeyinka, the erstwhile Chairman of the Commission in May 2016, former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, nominated to the House of Assembly, Hon. Justice Ayotunde Adeyoola Phillips (Rtd), a former Chief Judge of the State, for screening and clearance as the new Chairman of the Commission.
Phillips along with four other new members who had earlier been screened by the House, were sworn-in by Ambode on Wednesday, 29th June, 2016.
Also, following the expiration of the tenure of two incumbent Commissioners, Mr. Deoye Ogundipe and Mr. Olalekan Saheed Mabinuori, two new Commissioners-Prof. Gabriel Olatunde Babawale and Dr. Noah Lawal-Jinadu were nominated for clearance by the House of Assembly after which they were sworn in on Monday, 19thJune 2017.