The Global President of One Love Foundation, Chief Dr. Patrick Osagie Eholor has called on the National Assembly to consider an amendment to the electoral law to allow the Independent National Electoral Commission take over the conduct of elections into the 774 local government areas in the country from the state independent electoral commissions.
Eholor, in a letter addressed to the letter of the National Assembly on Friday, said this was the only way to stem the ugly tide of arrested development in most states, deepen democracy and boost the confidence of the masses in democracy as truly a government of the people by the people and for the people.
Read letter below:
URGENT APPEAL TO ACCELERATE A BILL FOR INEC TO CONDUCT L.G.A ELECTIONS
Since the inception of our democracy the only free and fair local government election ever held was that of 1999.
Due to its quintessential role in grassroots development and mobilization, the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, fourth schedule (as amended), clearly spells out Local Government functions.
While section 7 (1) gives it a legal status when it expressly provides that “the system of local government by
democratically elected local councils are under this constitution guaranteed”, and also mandates each government to establish the state independent electoral commission to enact relevant enabling legislations in order to give eﬀect to the provision of
democratic governance at the grassroots. In eﬀect, the constitutional guarantee of a democratically elected local government is an irreducible minimum from which state
governments are not expected to derogate.
When the date for the just conducted Local Government election was announced, Edo people were very excited about it because the last time Local Government election was held was during the administration of Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomole, little did Edo state people knew that the just concluded election was an already planned game which was waiting to be executed.
Undoubtedly the just conducted Local Government election was marred with too many problems but the one that spread across all tiers is the formation of EDSIEC, not until it is given to a central body there will never be free, fair and credible local election.
Governor Godwin Obaseki speciﬁcally planted all his allies in the EDSIEC and then use the State Security (Edo Vigilante) to execute his plan by hiring thugs and given them the uniform of Edo State vigilantee to put on and harras each opposition voters.
It is on this note that I’m calling the Senate to look into this and amend the constitution by giving out the State Electoral commission to a diﬀerent body, else the pay master will always have its way in all State Elections.
An election whereby a particular political party wins all the 18 LGA. Same election where people complained that the turn out was poor.
Same election that wasn’t held in some local government but result was announced.
All these are indications that there was a total ﬂop in the just concluded local government election.
The pernicious inﬂuence of this manipulated 2023 Local Government election will take Edo state thirty (30) years back and even beyond. It will and continues to impart negatively on the politics and governance of Edo state because many years from now, reference will still be made to it.
Local Government election is supposed to be an avenue of encouragement for grassroot mobilization, participation and development. Local Government is an avenue for training and
inculcating the habits of democracy at the grassroots. These habits are construed to encompass political participation, mobilization, accountability, responsiveness and self-governability.
Hence, we have argued that the conduct of Local Government elections should be transferred to INEC, while State Independent Electoral Commissions
should be outlawed if we are to get our democracy right.
This is in a bid to avoid inﬁltration by Governors and other government oﬃcials. Local Governments must be alienated from State Governments. It must have a life of its own. That is, it must be a strong autonomous third tier of government. Local Government must have a National Uniform Tenured System (NUTS), deﬁned by periodic elections so as to replicate other elected political oﬃces across the country.
I’m Chief Dr Patrick Osagie Eholor otherwise known as Ultimate Equal President One Love Foundation.
Chief Dr Patrick Osagie Eholor President One Love Foundation