By Festus Ahon
THE APC would sweep the LG polls on January 6, 2018, if the State Independent Electoral Commission, DSIEC keeps to its words and conducts a free and fair election, the spokesman of the opposition party, Leonard Obibi has said.
Speaking in a telephone interview with Vanguard, Obibi nevertheless expressed worry over the ability of DSIEC to be non-partisan in the forthcoming election.
He particularly expressed concern about the way and manner the current board of the commission was assembled by the PDP administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
He said “the current appointees came about by what we consider a forced dissolution of the previous board. Also, the DSIEC Law 2012 was hurriedly amended perhaps with a hidden agenda because the said amendment was not subjected to an open hearing.
“It was rushed through the State House of Assembly, and we observed that some elements of the new law were not in tandem with the fundamentals of the Electoral Act and Constitution. This matter is already being challenged in court.
“Experience shows that the supposedly independent electoral commissions in some states do not demonstrate a fair and open terrain to all political parties when compared with the quality of election conducted by INEC during the recent Anambra State gubernatorial election.
“Some of such challenges are that election materials may not get to polling units on time, and we have witnessed many situations in the past where you sight result sheets that are fake, and are just copies of originals, leading to the declaration of results that are bastardized and do not reflect the reality on ground. So these kinds of problems may persist unless DSIEC decides to be truly independent and upright to its duties under the law.
“The truth is that Delta State Independent Electoral Commission has not demonstrated over time that they can be above board in ensuring a level playing field for all contestants. However, it does not remove the fact that we, as a party, are working on our strategies and preparing hard for the local government elections. “We will go into the elections confidently and with our eyes open to remain vigilant and determined, and after that we shall assess DSIEC overall performance during the election.
We are all Deltans and would applaud them if they act right, but if the reverse is the case, we will not hesitate to take every necessary and proper means to ensure that our votes count and our voice is heard.
“Under GovernorIfeanyi Okowa administration, the Local Government Councils have performed poorly, and there is need for an overhaul”.