Accuses LASIEC of conspiracy to manipulate election process
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Barely 12 days to the conduct of the much anticipated council polls in Lagos, National Conscience Party, NCP, has commenced legal action against Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, LASIEC, 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, 2017 Local Government elections in Lagos.
Some of the contentious requirements for the guidelines include, N50, 000 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, yesterday, 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 Justice Ayotunde 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.