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Oyo council polls: Opposition parties vow to resist rigging

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The opposition parties in Oyo State have kicked against what they called “‎unholy romance” between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC).

The parties include the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Labour Party (LP), Accord Party (AP), and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

They alleged of attempt to rig the forthcoming local government election in the state.

Spokesmen of the parties in their separate reactions on their preparation ahead of the forthcoming Saturday February 11th local government election, doubted the sincerity of OYSIEC.

Speaking on the readiness of his party and other sundry issues, Publicity Secretary of the SDP, Alhaji Akeem Azeez said his party was fully ready for the election.

Azeez, however, said that the SDP was concerned about the sincerity of the electoral commission.

In a reply to a message sent to him by our correspondent, the spokesperson of SDP said, “Our party, SDP is ready to contest Feb 11 election. But we are worried about the insincerity and apparent lack of will to conduct free and fair elections by the OYSIEC.

“OYSIEC has failed repeatedly to honour timetable and guidelines set for the election by OYSIEC themselves.

“All political parties except APC have concluded arrangements to field candidates but each time we go to OYSIEC for nomination forms they always tell us to hang-on, whereas we ought to conclude primaries before 28th of December according to the timetable released for the election. It is worrisome that the same OYSIEC can not follow guideline and timeline set for the parties .

“We implore all Nigerians to watch out for action and inaction of OYSIEC and obvious partisanship in the conduct of the forthcoming election “.

But spokesman of the ruling APC, Olawale Sadare in a reply to an sms sent to him to speak on the readiness of his party and other sundry matters said he was on leave.

“I am on leave…Thanks.”

Sadare later issued a statement on behalf of the party on Monday.

The party in the statement warned all its aspirants to conduct themselves in orderly manner in the primary stated to hold on Friday.

The statement said the much-expected primaries would come up on Friday, January 20, 2017, at the designated centres only in the 33 local government areas and would also accommodate the newly created 35 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).

Sadare informed that the exercise will begin at 8am and it would be concluded same day.

He said, “In line with Article 20 of the Constitution of the All Progressives Congress (2014, As Amended), we would like to inform all members of our great party in Oyo State particularly all aspirants who have been cleared by the Screening Committees as well as party executive members at all levels and all others concerned that party primaries aimed at choosing candidates for the available posts in the February, 2017 local government elections would hold this Friday at designated venues across the state.

“It is important to emphasize here that Supreme Court pronouncement has placed nomination of candidates for any election on the shoulder of political parties. To this end, aspirants are warned to steer clear of any anti-party activities and its leadership as doing so would attract severe sanctions from the party.

“As a matter of fact, aspirants are reminded that any established case of unwarranted attacks against the party and its leadership may lead to disqualification or even withdrawal of nominations.”

However, in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Saturday, Labour Party Chairman in the state, Comrade Gbenga Olayemi argued that the ruling APC will not win any seat if the election is conducted in a free and fair atmosphere.

Olayemi said “We are ready for the election, but we are doubting the sincerity of the OYSIEC. There was a meeting we held last year where all the representatives of the political parties including the APC condemned the way OYSIEC is handling things. The timetable given by OYSIEC has elapsed.

“As at today, nobody know what is going on, but as a party we are preparing for the election.

“On the way OYSIEC is handling things, we are not exercising any doubt that we will win many local governments. For example, there was an election conducted to fill the vacant Oorelope State Constituency in the state House of Assembly, it was the Labour Party that won, we won in 8 out of the 10 wards, so there is no way election will be conducted in Oorelope and other local government areas that Labour Party will not win.

“We will not allow rigging to happen.

“I can assure you that if we have free and fair election in Oyo State, there is no way the APC can win.”

Also speaking with our correspondent on Saturday, Publicity Secretary of Accord Party, Engineer Akeem Olatunji said “based on what is on ground, “there is every possibility to also doubt the commission.”

Speaking to our reporter on Tuesday at the Molete Secretariat of the party, Spokesperson of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Ismaila Asipa said his party will not welcome any attempt to postpone the election.

He said “PDP is fully prepared for the election. And there is this enthusiasm among members because it is very long that we had the local government election in the statej the last was conducted in December 2007. So, people outside can also see it, we are fully prepared for the election.”

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