We of the Lagos State Chapter of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) welcome the recent court judgment granted by the Lagos State High Court ordering the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) to conduct local government elections in Lagos State without delay. The case was instituted by the National Conscience Party (NCP). We believe that the court order is a judicial victory in all respects for the mass of the working people in Lagos State who have been denied the opportunity of democratically electing their desired candidates into the local governments in Lagos State. We salute the leadership of the NCP in Lagos State for their steadfastness in prosecuting this struggle unto victory.
We hold that the situation also demands that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) speedily grants the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) its Certificate of Registration after it has met all prescribed requirements under the law for the registration of a political party. This is because we are willing to join the electoral fray and contest the local government elections as ordered by the Court in Lagos State. Already on account of INEC’s refusal to register our party (something that is now being challenged at the Federal High Court Abuja Division), the SPN was denied the opportunity of taking part in the 2015 general elections. We believe that further denial of participation in forthcoming elections would amount to a grave injustice.
Many state governors have turned the local governments to their “handbags” as they appoint unelected Caretaker Committees and administrators to manage the affairs of these local governments. It is through this means that they purloin federal allocations sent to state government accounts for the running of local governments into their private pockets. This undemocratic manner, with which the leadership of the local governments is chosen, together with anti-poor policies including exploitation of masses under the guise of taxes, has rendered the local governments completely useless.
Unlike pro-rich political parties like the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressive Congress (APC) who see local government as conduit pipe for corruption, the SPN sees local government councils as veritable tool for development of our communities and provision of decent life for the people. To this end, the SPN demands an end to the fraudulent practice of State/local government joint account. We stand for independent, democratically-run and accountable local government councils that receive their allocations directly from federation account aside other internal sources of generating revenue.
We call for the struggle to compel LASIEC to organize local government elections to be sustained until victory is guaranteed. We call for wider awareness and publicity to expose this brigandage. We believe a successful struggle for democratic elections into local governments and the victory of a party like ours will spur the implementation of pro-working people policies of expansion of basic infrastructure, massive job creation and democratic management of resources by the working masses in the communities to advance the interest of the community people.