PDP Urges Kwara Electoral Commission to Ensure Fair Play in Upcoming LG Elections

Date: 2024-06-23

According to a news report from Punch, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission (KWASIEC) to provide a level playing field for all political parties participating in the forthcoming local government elections across the 16 councils in the state.

The PDP made this appeal in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Olusegun Adewara, and made available to Punch in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, on Sunday.

The party, represented by its Chairman, Babatunde Mohammed, and Secretary, Abdulrahman Kayode, at a meeting organised by KWASIEC on Friday, expressed concerns over a suspected unholy alliance between the electoral body and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.

It said, “The PDP is pleased to declare that our party is fully prepared for the upcoming elections. Consequently, we have not requested any adjustments to the election timetable previously released by KWASIEC. Our commitment to a transparent and timely electoral process remains steadfast, and we are confident in our readiness to participate under the current schedule.

“During the meeting, Babatunde Mohammed expressed the party’s reservations about KWASIEC and the Kwara Government’s decision to conduct local government elections after nearly six years in power. It is concerning that the local government administration has been crippled by the imposition of the Transition Implementation Committee chairmen, who were illegally appointed by the Governor in 2019 to oversee our local governments.

“Furthermore, the Kwara PDP raised serious concerns regarding a suspicious alliance between the ruling APC and KWASIEC. This was evident in the manner of the APC Chairman, Mr. Sunday Fagbemi, took over the position of KWASIEC’s Chairman and responded to salient questions posed to the Commission, rather than allowing the Commission to address these questions.”

The PDP maintained that “Such behavior from APC chairman has led us to question the impartiality of the Commission and raises fears of potential manipulation in the forthcoming local government elections since there seems to exist a sinister alliance with the ruling APC by the singular behaviour of the APC chairman.”

The party also said that it agreed with price tags of the nomination forms in agreement with suggestions from other political parties that the fees attached to nomination forms must be affordable to all prospective aspirants for both councilorship and chairmanship elections.

“Consequently, the PDP proposed that the nomination forms for councilorship should not exceed fifty thousand naira (N50,000) while that of chairmanship must not exceed two hundred thousand naira (N200,000).

“The PDP urges KWASIEC to maintain its independence and ensure a fair and transparent electoral process noting that KWASIEC must go extra miles to prove that the commission will not be teleguided by the ruling APC adding that the integrity of our democratic processes is paramount, and any actions that compromise this integrity must be addressed with the utmost seriousness, our party advises.

“We are by this statement calling on all our party members, stakeholders as well as Kwara electorates to uphold the principles of democracy and work together with the PDP towards free, fair, and credible local government elections in the State,” the PDP said.

Reacting to the allegations raised by the opposition party, the state chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Sunday Fagbemi denied that the party did not have any dealing with KWASIEC adding that he had not visited the Commission’s office since it constitution by the state government and did not have the contact of any of it members.

“As the chairman of APC, I have a right to express my views on matters of public interest. What we are working towards is maintenance of peace in the state and how we can guide against thuggery during the elections.But what i suspect is that some of the opposition parties are planning to frustrate the election. They have even planned to go to Court to stop the election.

“The PDP chairman was asking unnecessary questions to waste time at the meeting of political parties called by KWASIEC last Friday. He didn’t want the commission to make headway and that was the reason I had to take time to explain to all those at the meeting,” he said.

 


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