RUMBLE OVER COUNCIL ELECTIONS RESULTS IN LAGOS
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is confident of upturning the result of some council elections announced by the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC). The confidence of the party is anchored on the weight of evidence at its disposal to prove that it won no fewer than five or six chairmanship positions. Part of the evidence at the disposal of the Lagos PDP is the video clip of returning officers announcing the result, of the election at the various councils.
Example: The Returning officer for the council election in Badagry Central Local Governments, Mrs. Tokunbo Fatoyinbo appeared in a video clip and read out the result of the council election held on Saturday, October 22nd.
The result announced by the LASIEC officer was as follows: Total votes cast-113, 970, ACN- 6,383, APGA- 30, CPC- 425,NMP- 137 and PDP- 7,353.
There was jubilation and shouts of victory by supporters of PDP. But Mrs. Fatoyinbo, the returning officer did not declare the PDP candidate winner. When party loyalists shouted on top of their voices that she should declare the winner, Mrs. Fatoyinbo laughed and told the jubilating crowed that: ' Every body knows where he or she stands.' The crowd satisfied with the reply.
Chairman of Lagos PDP, Honourable Setonji Koshoedo who hails from Badagry told Saturday Sun that the result later announced by LASIEC which gave victory to ACN came as a shock to those who witnessed the declaration of result in Badagry, The story is the same in Agbado Oke Odo and Ikoyi Obalende councils.
What LASIEC law says about announcement of results:
According to the Lagos Independent Electoral Commission Law, 2008,section 1,2, 3,4 5,6,7, and 8, returning officers are expected to count the votes and announce the result in the presence of the electorate.
It says: 'The presiding officer shall, after the close of poll, open the ballot box and empty its contents in the presence of the polling clerk, poll orderly, candidates of political parties or their agents and begin to count the votes with the ballot papers kept face up.
During the counting of votes, all rejected ballot papers shall be put in a special envelope. The votes scored by each candidate shall be entered in a statement of result prepared by the commission for that purpose which form shall be signed and stamped by the presiding officer and endorsed by the candidates or their agents, where available, at the polling station or unit.
'The presiding officer shall give a copy of the statement of result form to the police officer, if any at the polling station or unit and take the original copy to the returning officer at the ward collation center together with the ballot boxes, the relevant envelopes and all other election materials including the stamp, stamp pad and endorsing ink.
The result of the councillorship election shall at the ward collation center be entered in a form prepared by the commission for that purpose. The ward returning officer shall after the collation of the result of the councillorship election announces the result of that election and declare the result.
'The result of the chairmanship shall at the ward center be entered in a form prepared by the commission for that purpose. The returning officer at each ward shall announce the result.
'The result of the chairmanship election as announced by sub section 7, shall be taken by the ward returning or Development Area collation center; compile and entered in a form prepared for that purpose and announced by the Local Government Returning officer.'
Section 57 stipulates that: Every result form completed at the Ward, Local Government and Council Development Area levels in accordance with the provisions of law or any guideline issued by the commission shall be stamped, signed, counter-signed by the presiding officer or by the relevant officers and the party agents if available. '
Uproar in opposition parties
Political parties which took part in the October 22 council election were taken aback with the manner they alleged that the electoral body manipulated the result in favour of the ruling ACN. The parties alleged that the election was brazenly rigged. The reaction of the ACN through its spokesman, Igbokwe that rival political parties are merely making noise and trying to sow where they did not reap is being misinterpreted. By making reference to the seizing of the Lagos council fund during Obasanjo reign and how the ACN won all the way in the courts was interpreted by other political parties to mean that only the ruling party reserve the moral right to partake in the election.
Chairman of PDP, Koshoedo said: 'Our people came out to vote and they voted people of their choice. The truth is that there was a game to upturn the elections. Unfortunately for them, PDP supporters protected their votes and that is why there is so much uproar. That is why there is crisis all over the place. You can see ACN now showing its true colour.
In Badagry, we made sure that the result was announced in the presence of security agents. We have video clip but they still hide themselves in a hotel to announce results. Justice Adeyinka (LASIEC chairman) should have been honorable to the end.
'We have made our report to all security agents, the presidency and the party. We have reported to all that need to hear about it. You heard Governor Fashola who said that there will be no development anywhere that voted PDP because he cannot work for PDP.Is that a comment by somebody who believes in democracy?
'Did you see ACN members jubilating after the election? They cannot jubilate because the result is different from what it used to be. They dare not come to the street to jubilate. The PDP has won chairmanship positions in Badagry, Ikoyi -Obalende, Eredo, Somolu, Agbado-Oke Odo and Ojo.'
Taiwo Kuye, chairman in Mushin local government PDP echoed Koshoedo when he said the election was a sham. He wandered how ACN leaders can claim to be democrats when they can rig council elections in broad daylight. He said: 'We decided not to take part in the elections organized by LASIEC in the past. We now decided to take part and give the election credibility. What we discovered is whenever the results are added and they discovered PDP is winning the electoral officers always disappear. We have won in eight councils. The meaning of all these is that the game is up for ACN in Lagos. Come 2015, the PDP shall put up a monumental battle. '
Tribunal as a last resort
Opposition parties are considering options to retrieve what they believe belongs to them. The parties are determined to use all legal means in the struggle to ensure that the result announced does not stand.
Publicity secretary of PDP, Mr. Taofik Gani told Saturday Sun that the party is determined to follow legal means while calling on the people to stand up for their right to choose the man who will represent them. According to him, the party insists that anybody who has won election must be declared winner.
He said: 'We are set for the tribunal. We are compiling materials. But as you know, we would also go to the tribunal with no confidence because the LASIEC, which they control, has disappointed. So, we won't expect less. They also control the tribunals because they set them up. But they must allow justice to be done because if they allow people to go to Federal Court, this issue of LCDA will crop up again. The federal courts may hit hard on Lagos for running illegal councils this time around.