Lagos LG Polls: Pro-Banire group flays assembly’s hurried amendment of electoral law

Lagos State House of Assembly
Lagos State House of Assembly

The United Action for Change has condemned the Lagos State House of Assembly’s hasty passage of an act to amend the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission law.

At a press conference held in Lagos on Wednesday, the group described the action of the lawmakers as “legislative indecency of the highest order” coming just days before the council election.

Muiz Banire, the National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress, is the convener of the UAC.

The Lagos State House of Assembly had on Monday amended the electoral law to enable parties substitute or withdraw candidates three days before the election.

The amendment passed First, Second, and Third readings in the House the same day and was signed into law by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode a few hours later.

“The legislative process to amend the LASIEC Law came after the decision of the High Court of Lagos State nullifying the imposition of a candidate from Odi-Olowo Local Council Development Area.

“The legislative disregard for common sense and the hurried primary election held in Odi-Olowo yesterday, the 18th July, came by despite the fact that the time for nomination of candidates had elapsed and no new primary elections can be held by a party already in default,’’ said Kunle Adegoke, Deputy National Convener of the group.

The group said the amendment was done to favour the APC.

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Mr. Adegoke said the amendment process did not take into consideration the interest of other political parties as well as the opinions of the public.

“The amendment was carried out in a black-market manner and it offends all legislative traditions and conventions,” he said.

The statement added that “The amendment now allowing a political party to substitute its candidate three days to the election was basically to enable APC whose imposed candidate has been nullified by the Court to present the same candidate thereby necessitating changing the goal post in the middle of the game.’’

“The amendment is a failed effort as there is no candidate to substitute by APC the process that threw up the imposed candidates having been nullified by the court,” the group added.

The group also described as “political slavery” Tuesday’s rally by some members of the APC demanding for the expulsion of Mr Banire from the party.

Scores of protesters had marched from the party’s state secretariat in Lagos to the governor’s office accusing Mr Banire of anti-party activities after the latter criticised the party leadership’s alleged imposition of candidates.

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“Dr Banire fought against imposition in 2014/2015 and that was how the party had the primary elections that produced Governor Ambode and President Buhari and other office holders.

“It was the glory of the transparent nature of the primary elections that produced these leaders that gave APC victory in the elections and for someone who is afraid of defeat to impose candidates on the people, we shall not agree,” the group said.

The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on Tuesday appealed to aggrieved members of his party, the APC to bury the hatchet, noting that any crack would be detrimental to the party.

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