Guber Race: Lagos Monarchs Neutral

Source: THEWILL. -

LAGOS, Jan 30, (THEWILL) - Lagos State Council of Obas and Chiefs has said it would not endorse any governorship candidate irrespective of his political affiliation, saying the council "is not political and will not do anything which can breed ill feelings among candidates seeking such positions."

The traditional rulers under the chairmanship of Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwanu Aremu Akiolu made the decision during a meeting held at the state secretariat in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos after writing a protest letter to President Goodluck Jonathan and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega over various voter registration anomalies which they said could mar the April elections.

After the meeting, Oba Akiolu said the state traditional rulers “have no anointed candidate in the governorship race. Two of the major contestants are our children. As a body, we have no reason to endorse one. But each of us will vote for any candidate he prefers.

"We have seen progress and development in different parts of the state in the last four years. Individually, we all know where we are going. But as a council, we do not have a common candidate for the gubernatorial election; neither do we plan to have any since the council is apolitical."

On the voter registration exercise, Oba Akiolu said the council “wants put on record that during the first week of the exercise, no registration took place in most parts of Lagos State owing to reasons from faulty machines; lack of necessary materials; and inexperienced officials handling the equipment.”

In a protest letter, the monarch also appealed to the electoral commission, the National Assembly and other stakeholders in the on-going exercise “to work concertedly in order to ratify these anomalies, and as well, ensure that the closing date” is effected as amended by the House of Representatives.

If the exercise continues at this pace, Akiolu said, more than half of the eligible voters in the state will be denied their civil responsibilities in the April 2011 general elections. So, no eligible voters should be disenfranchised for any reasons in the state and other states of the federation.

He also called on various community leaders, religious scribes, captains of industries and other well-meaning Nigerians in the state not to be deterred by the lapses witnessed in the exercise while urging them to mobilize their people to register.

The council also advised its members to sensitize all prospective voters in their domains irrespective of their religion, ethnic and political affiliation to come out en mass to register.

"We call on Lagos State Government, all local government and Local Council Development Areas in the state to intensify efforts in mobilizing Lagosians as well as provide logistics that will ensure the success of the polls.