Politics

Lagos council polls: Election must take place in only 20 councils – group

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United Foundation for Survival and Sustainability, a Non Governmental Organisation, has warned the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) against conducting elections in 37 Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs, saying the exercise should only take place in 20 Local Government Area, LGAs, across the state.

In a statement by the chairman of the group, Ahmed Adekunle, he said if elections hold in 37 LCDAs, it would be violating the provisions of section 3(6)7 and the first schedule Part 1 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

” In a recent advertorial published in some national dailies by the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), titled “Notice of Election” and went on to issue what it called “Time Table for Election”, the commission made it abundantly clear that Chairmanship and Councillorship positions were going to be contested for in the 20 Local Government and 37 Local Council Development Areas in the State, on July 24, 2021.

“The commission then went on to release what it called guidelines which ostensibly began April 21 to end by July 22, 2021.

For the avoidance of doubt, we like to state categorically that LASIEC only has right to conduct election into the constitutionally designated 20 Local Government Councils—not the 37 Local Council Development Areas as allowed by law!

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“Going ahead to do so would be tantamount to violation of the provisions of section 3(6).7 and the first schedule Part 1 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. The move will also be interpreted as disobedience to the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“It is important we emphasise that LASIEC must listen to the voice of rationality and desist from this obviously tele-guided agenda and save the nation needless distress.

“Instead of helping to seek ways of defeating the security challenges facing the nation, it is disheartening that some elements are struggling to perpetuate their hold on the reins of governance in the State by trying to enforce this illegality.

“The Local Government Areas (Amendment) Law of Lagos 2004 made it crystal clear in section 1 which explicitly admits that until the National Assembly passes an act to make consequential provisions with respect to the names of the said additional Local Government Areas as provided for under section 8(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, they shall remain incohate.

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“This means that the said 37 local Government Council Areas are recognized only as partly in existence. This is why LASIEC, to quote the law, has no constitutional authority and statutory competence to conduct election into the 37 additionally created Local Councils that has question mark.

“Even the Supreme Court of Nigeria –the apex court in the land –reinforces this view while throwing more light on the matter in the case between Attorney General of Lagos State and Attorney General of the Federation SC70/2004 as follows: “The new Local Government Areas can’t take effect until the National Assembly passes the consequential Act under section 8, subsection (5) of the Constitution, to give life to those creations”.

“From this ruling, only the 20 local Government Areas can enjoy being headed by democratically elected personalities. Should LASIEC stick to its guns and go ahead to conduct elections as stated in its time table, that would amount to administrative arrogance which is not needed at this time the nation is facing some security challenges,” the group said.

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