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​Lagos LG polls: LASIEC registers 12 political parties for participation in July 22 poll

Ahead of the July 22 council polls in Lagos, in about nine days, the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, LASIEC, has registered 12 political parties which presented candidates for the Chairmanship and Councillorship posts for the elections.
However, National Conscience Party, NCP, has commenced legal action against over legality of requirements in the guidelines for registration of candidates and rejection of 77 party names submitted to it for validation.
NCP described the developments has “undemocratic and dangerous” for the forthcoming July 22, 2017council polls.
Meantime, a total of 1,300 chairmanship and councillorship candidates of various parties were captured on the list for the elections into the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs, of the State scheduled for Saturday, 22nd July, 2017, while LASIEC had fixed the council run-off for July 29.
Chairman of LASIEC, Justice Ayotunde Philips, (Rted), said in line with its statutory responsibilities, the commission requested all the candidates whose names were submitted to it by the various political parties vying for elective offices in the forthcoming elections to appear before it for validation.
According to her, “During the validation exercise, the candidates whose names were submitted, presented their documents as specified in the guidelines published by the commission for screening.”
The 12 political parties that presented chairmanship and councilor candidates are: Accord Party ( AP ), Action Alliance ( AA ), Alliance for Democracy ( AD )All Progressives Congress ( APC ), Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP ), Labour Party ( LP ) and All Progressives Grand Alliance ( APGA ).
Others are United Democratic Party ( UDP ), United Progressive Party ( UPP ), Kowa Party ( KP ), National Action Council ( NAC ) and Peoples Democratic Movement ( PDM ).
On Tueday evening, hundreds of stakeholders mainly politicians thronged LASIEC headquarters to confirm the list of validated candidates for the chairmanship and councillorship posts in the LGs and LCDAs of the state which had been pasted on the notice board.
LASIEC commences training of ad hoc staff
In a related development, the commission has commenced a three-day Trainer of Trainers Course for Electoral Officers in the 57 councils of the State as part of preparations for the conduct of the Saturday, 22ndJuly 2017 elections in the State.
Philip explained that the course, theme, “IFES Election Training on Polling and Counting Procedures for LASIEC Trainers,’’ facilitated by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, IFES, was designed as a master–trainer programme for participants who are expected to train all the ad-hoc personnel who will be engaged for the conduct of the elections.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the course, the Phillips, urged participants to take advantage offered by the course and demonstrate an open mind to learning and change to enhance the electoral process at the Local Government level of the state.
LASIEC boss commended IFES for its continuous support towards the Commission, particularly with regard to training and capacity development of the personnel of the Commission to enable them internalize international best practices in election administration and management.
IFES is a United States-based organisation operating in over 100 countries of the world for the entrenchment of democracy and election international best practices. The organisation is being supported by USAID and UKAID.
Meantime, NCP has protested over the refusal to register names of its 77 candidates submitted to LASIEC.
Some of the contentious requirements for the guidelines include; N50, 000 fee for chairmanship form, resignation from jobs six months before the elections, evidence of three years tax clearance and Lagos State Residents Identity Card, among others.
National General Secretary of the party, comrade Ayodele Akele made the remarks, at a media briefing in Ikeja on the preparation of the party for the July 22 council polls.
Akele alleged that there was grand conspiracy by All Progressives Congress, APC, LASIEC and the Judiciary to manipulate the electoral process in favour of the ruling party in the state.
According to him, “The hard facts on the ground confirm the reality. As we speak, 77 NCP candidates for the council polls have been wickedly denied forms and registration by Philips led LASIEC using illegal guidelines unprecedented, callously imposed on the forthcoming elections.
“The NCP had organized its primaries peacefully since May 20, 2017 in the presence of three LASIEC representatives and the list had been submitted formally to LASIEC.”
The party therefore, wondered why same LASIEC has refused to give electoral forms when the leadership requested for them. “We have been ostracized along with the millions of people that never met the conditions imposed by LASIEC. Unlike LASIEC, Independent National Election Commission, INEC forms are available online free of charge for party candidates to down load fill and submit with supporting documents. Why must INEC forms be free and LASIEC forms are not. Why must LASIEC case be different, where is the precedent. ?”
He maintained it was completely illegal and undemocratic for LASIEC to charge a single kobo for any form for the election as there are Supreme Court rulings against the guidelines since 2003 in a lawsuit filed by the founder of NCP late Chief Gani Fawehinmi.
NCP, also expressed worry over the fact that the party had earlier filed a lawsuit against LASIEC in Lagos High Court since May 12, 2017, “over the undemocratic guidelines with an Affidavit of Urgency attached and as we speak, two months after, the lawsuit has not been heard by any judge in Lagos State High Court. This is a big scandal.
“This development clearly raises a lot of questions about whether judiciary is actually the last hope of the common man. Now, they are saying the court is going on vacation by July 17, 2017, few days to the July 22, 2017 council polls.”
He stressed that the court which supposed to salvage the cause has refused to hear the matter.
“We are ready to take the matter to the Supreme Court. This is pure attempt to exclude credible candidates from contesting while they are busy using public funds to feather their own nests and campaign.”
Akele vowed that NCP would continue to stand against a situation where LASIEC imposes so-called guidelines that crudely negate basic democratic principles that are totally different from the established INEC standard and Constitution of Nigeria.

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