BY GEORGE OKOJIE
In less than two months Lagosians will file out for the long-awaited Local Government Polls which has attracted intense bickering amongst members of the ruling APC in the state and the opposition PDP. In this report GEORGE OKOJIE reviews the outlook and likely outcomes of the polls in the 57 local government and local council development areas in the state.
After so much delay towards the conduct of the local government poll in Lagos State, the recent flooding of campaign posters of the candidates willing to contest the election and electoral process unveiled by the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) showed the election will hold in the state.
This particular election seemed to be unique and attracts the attention of people of the state and beyond, because of the initial failures of the state government to conduct the poll and given the fact that the state is a cosmopolitan state with political peculiarities.
Apart from suits filed by the National Conscience Party of Nigeria (NCP) asking a Federal High Court in Lagos to withhold further allocation of funds to Lagos State from the Federation Account because of its failure to conduct elections into local government areas, the issue has been on the front burners in the state.
The polity was ruffled when a Lagos State High Court in 2015, declared the caretaker committees administering local governments in the state as null and void and ordered that elections be conducted within 90 days.
Though the state government appealed the judgment, it finally decided to conduct the election on July 22.
As the residents prepare to go the polls to elect officials that would govern them at grassroots level, the stakes are very high and this can be seen in the frantic efforts being made by the electorates to collect about 1.4 million permanent voters cards yet to be collected in the state.
In Lagos there are many fundamental posers that can spring surprises in the polls. One of such indices is the cosmopolitan composition of is residents. The local government area contest is a two horse race between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Suffice to state here that, since democracy returned to Nigeria PDP has not ruled Lagos and political pundits are of the view that moves to change the political equation in the state at grassroots level will not be an easy one, especially now that the party that used to have only one governor in the country had grown politically and now a center government.
The major strength of the PDP in Lagos State has been its reliance on its ability to pull bulk votes from settlers in the commercial nerve center of the country.
Unfortunately, the political gains recorded in this regards in the state have been eroded by the defection of the six out of the initial eight PDP lawmakers at the Lagos State House of Assembly to the APC on the floor of the House on February 16, 2017.
As far as political pundits are concerned the defection of the Minority Leader, Hon. Akeem Bello (Amuwo Odofin the Minority II), The Minority Whip, Hon. Mosunmola Sangodara (Surulere II), and Hon. Olusola Sokunle (Oshodi/Isolo I) and others like Hon. Jude Idimogu (Oshodi/Isolo II), Hon. Dayo Famakinwa (Ajeromi Ifelodun II) and Hon. Oluwa Fatai (Ajeromi/Ifelodun I) has eroded people’s confidence in the PDP in those constituencies.
On a large scale, the political class appeared not to have lived above board in playing their games in the electoral process.
While there is internal wrangling in the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over its candidates for the July 22 local government poll in the state, resulting in the deaths of some people, the Peoples Democratic Party is still engrossed in crisis of supremacy in the state.
Currently, there is discordant tunes in the ruling party over those it will present as candidates in the 20 local government areas and 37 local council development areas (LCDAs) as well as the 377 wards in the poll.
The once united APC has been factionalized with some leaders of the party clamouring for a consensus arrangement, while others, especially the aspirants, are insisting that the party flag-bearers should emerge through primaries.
The political bubble burst in the state when the party’s national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, declared during a stakeholders meeting at the Lagos APC secretariat that some aspirants should step down for 18 former local government chairmen, who were promised returned tickets for their efforts in the party and the state.
It was learnt that the 18 ex-chairmen are; Sola Adekunle (Alimosho LGA), Bolaji Ariyo (Oshodi Isolo LGA), Semi Olorunkemi (Ibeju Lekki LGA), Tunde Sofola (Kosofe LGA), Tajudeen Ajide (Surulere LGA), Akinyemi Obe (Coker Aguda LCDA), Shuaibu Fatai (Ifelodun LCDA), Ramota Oseni (Iba LCDA) and Oloruntoba Oke (Ifako Ijaye LGA).
Others are Tunde Oke (Onigare bongbo LCDA), Julius Oloro (Ojodu LCDA), Shakiru Yusuf (Ayobo Ipaja LCDA), Adeoye Arogun (Agbado Oke Odo LCDA), Adesina Williams (Igando Ikotun LCDA), Olaleye Shamsideen (Isolo LCDA), Olaitan Ogidan (Lekki LCDA), Fatai Oyesanya (Ikosi-Isheri LCDA) and Femi Durosinmi (Agboyi-Ketu LCDA).
This development has prompted many of the aspirants to withdraw from the race, while some party leaders opposed to this issue of consensus candidate bluntly told their candidate not to step down making the decision over who will fly the party’s flag difficult.