March 1, 2018
Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission, OYSIEC,
Ibadan, Oyo State
LETTER OF OBSERVATION AND SUGGESTION OVER ELECTION TIMETABLE AND DELINEATION OF WARDS/ LGA/LCDA
We of the Socialist Party of Nigeria, SPN, Oyo State Chapter write to officially bring to the notice of your esteemed office our observation and concern over the election time table and a related document titled “wards delineation” which we received from the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission, OYSIEC on Wednesday, February 22, 2018.
It will be recalled that state leadership of SPN and some OYSIEC commissioners had a meeting on Wednesday, February 21st, 2018. This was with a view of resolving all of the areas of conflicts between the party and commission, that formed the background to the peaceful protest organised by SPN members to the OYSIEC office on Monday, February 19, 2018 against perceived exclusion of the party by the OYSIEC from the preparatory process for the election into 33 Local Government Area, LGAs and 35 local council development areas LCDA scheduled to hold on May 12, 2018.
To us in SPN, the meeting was no doubt a success, in the sense that it provided the party and commission an avenue to agree on definite channel of communication the absence of which was largely responsible for earlier conflict between the party and the commission. The meeting also offered the leadership of SPN an opportunity to receive on behalf of the party the official copy of the timetable for the scheduled LGA/LCDA election as well as a related document titled the “Delineation of Wards.”
However, having gone through these documents, we found out some grey areas that deserve an urgent and immediate attention of the commission; otherwise the commission will be faced with the risk of conducting election that will be far from being credible, free and fair!
According to the election timetable, the deadline for the collection and submission of personal data form for candidates by political parties is slated for Saturday February 24, 2018 and Sunday, February 25, 2018 respectively. To us in SPN, this aspect gives room for a doubt over the reliability of this timetable to guild us through the electioneering process due to its inconsistency with the prevailing objective realities on ground. As of Tuesday, February 27, 2018, virtually all political parties in the state with high chances to participate in the scheduled LGA election are yet to conduct their respective primary elections which was scheduled in the same timetable to be completed between Monday, 5th and Wednesday 23 February, 2018. Not even the ruling APC, which recently made a public announcement over its decision to postpone the date to conduct it primary elections indefinitely.
This therefore, implies that as things stand today, none of the political parties in the state can be said to have complied with the aspect of the timetable that concern both the collection and submission of the personal data form for candidates by political parties. This therefore underscores the position of our party that unless representatives of political parties are brought together to work out an election timetable that will be acceptable to all, the chances for the scheduled elections to be free, fair and credible will be so slim!
The continuous failure of OYSIEC to comprehensively delineate wards in the LGA and LCDA is quite obvious in the documented titled delineation of wards which was handed over to us officially by the commission. This document is so abstract in the sense that it only shows the number of wards in each of the LGAs and LCDAs without any description of the specific areas and boundaries of each ward. Except we have a detailed delineation, it will be difficult for candidates in the Election to understand the boundaries when canvassing for the electable positions they are interested to contest for.
This is why we of the Socialist Party of Nigeria strongly feel that issues around the delineation of wards and local government should have been first and foremost sorted out even before the release of any timetable for the election itself. SPN is of the opinion that the release of the time table while still battling with issues around delineation of wards is like putting the "cart before the horse"!
Going by this background, it is obvious that the foundation for the preparation for the long awaited local government election is far from being capable to usher in an election that will be credible. As much as SPN is in agreement that May 12 slated for the LG poll should be sacrosanct, we hereby urge OYSIEC to declare the existing election timetable null and void while also reiterate that OYSIEC should urgently convene a fresh meeting of all the existing political parties in the state to arrive at a progressive way out of this situation capable of undermining the competence of OYSEIC to conduct a credible, free and fair Local government election. This is with a view to create an avenue for a discussion and debate over all of the issues around the election towards arriving at an electoral time table that will enjoy the input and consent of all political parties in the state. Lastly, OYOSIEC must ensure that all issues around the delineation of wards are resolved before a fresh election timetable is released
Again, except the OYSIEC conducts the proposed local government elections in Oyo State in this kind of democratic manner, the planned elections across LGA and LCDA in the state end up being a farce!
(1) OYSIEC should openly declare the existing election time table null and void
(2) OYSIEC should convene a fresh meeting of all the existing political parties in the state towards arriving at a fresh election time table
(3) OYSIEC must resolve all issues around the delineation of wards before a new election time table is released
Conclusively, the SPN will be glad if all of these critical areas pointed out are addressed and attended to!
Abiodun Bamigboye (Abbey Trotsky)
Secretary, SPN, Oyo State Chapter