By Daud Olatunji
IN the next 24 hours, residents of Ogun State would go to the polls to elect a new set of officials, who would steer the affairs of the Local Government Areas in the state, in the next three years.
According to the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission, OGSIEC, no fewer than 17 political parties will participate in the exercise.
However, the ruling All Progressives Congress,APC, is regarded as the front runner among other parties in the race.
This will be the second time in five years that council election would hold under the Ibikunle Amosun-led administration.
Amosun had conducted the first local government election on July 21, 2012, during his first term. Three years after the tenure of the elected offices, caretaker committees were constituted and they have been administering the councils till date.
This poll would be unique because, for the first time, an election would hold in 57 council areas which consist of the existing 20 local governments and the 37 newly created Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs.
Findings showed that the race may be a one-horse-race even though 17 political parties will be participating.
To ensure his party wins the contest, the state governor had led APC party leaders and supporters to the three senatorial districts to canvass for votes.
In a bid to display its independence, the OGSIEC had embarked on so many activities with a view to giving the political parties a level playing field.
In spite of that, most parties are not satisfied with the conduct of the commission regarding preparations for the poll.
The commission had received two lists from the factions of the PDP but eventually settled for that of the Ahmed Makarfi Caretaker Committee.
In doing that, the list of candidates from the Adebayo Dayo-led faction was jettisoned.
The Labour Party, LP, which filed a suit against the electoral body demanding the exclusion of its candidates lost out as a court ordered the OGSIEC to go ahead with the election.
Meanwhile, the state police command has warned the parties against fomenting trouble during the election.
The command gave the warning during a meeting convened by the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ahmed Iliyasu, which had the heads of all security agencies and representatives of all political parties in attendance.
He stated that electoral offences such as canvassing for votes during the voting period, snatching of ballot boxes and disorderly conduct among others would not be tolerated.
He further warned that nobody apart from the electoral body should announce the election results.
The commissioner, therefore, assured residents of adequate security before, during and after the poll.
Some of the political parties in a chat with Vanguard expressed satisfaction with the level of preparation by the OGSIEC. It was gathered that the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Peoples Party of Nigeria, PPN, and Labour Party may not participate in the election. This development may likely increase the chances of the APC in the contest.