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Lagos Rejects Proposed Reduction Of Federal Constituencies

Source: BABATOLA MICHAEL - thewillnigeria.com
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LAGOS, June 07, (THEWILL) - The proposal to reduce federal electoral constituencies in 13 states of the federation including Lagos as contained in the report of the National Advisory Committee on Delimitation of Constituencies (NACDC) was today rejected by the Lagos State Government.

But the state government advocated the need to decentralize government at the federal level and create more federal constituencies rather than implementing the NACDC report, which it said might affect over 40 senators and 150 members of the House of Representatives.

Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) expressed these views at a stakeholders’ forum, which the State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) organized today in Lagos on how to delineates wards and create additional polling units in the state.

At the forum, Fashola said various empirical evidences "abounds with respect to how Lagos is being short-changed in areas of numbers of federal constituencies and other related representations," a situation he said would be resisted and challenged.

While commending the effort of LASIEC under the leadership of Justice Afolabi Abdul-Fatai Adeyinka, Fashola added the proposed delineation of wards and creation of additional polling units in Lagos State "is not only necessary, but also timely."

The governor thus sought public support or the effort of the state government at the grassroots saying that "this we can achieve when we have credible hands, by inference, leaders at the grassroots. But there cannot be effective leaders without credible elections, and credible elections will remain a mirage without an electoral framework.

"We must learn from advanced countries like the United States that provides an inclusive system of governance. While we call for decentralization of government at the federal level, we at the state level must also allow the government at the grassroots to breathe and thrive.

"On this note, concrete structures and platforms must be created to engage and elicit people participation in politics and governance, most especially considering the political apathy of an average Nigerian resulting from long years of leadership failure and neglect," he said.

Fashola also canvassed an electoral framework that "encourages participation of people in decision-making both in the choice of those who represent them and actual engagement in governance. It is by so doing we can have sustainable development.

"For LASIEC to have taken the bull by the horn in area of representation at the local council level, it is a welcome development. We have decided to put in place an electoral framework that will ensure that each councilor is known to the residents in her or her ward. This we intend to do by ensuring that our polling units are situated in areas and manners that will impinge people’s desire to exercise their franchise.

"We have made serious efforts to run an open government. Despite our desire to pursue open-door government, we recognize our limitations in this regard as not every Lagos resident will have opportunity to visit the state secretariat or even go to their local government headquarters. We believe we can provide a framework that will enable an average Lagosian to knock on the door of his/her councilor," he explained.