The Youth Party has called on the Lagos State electoral commission (LASIEC) to conduct a rerun of last Saturday’s local council polls in Ward A of Eti Osa LGA.
The party, in a statement issued on Tuesday, said the election was marred by severe malpractices.
The statement reads:
The Lagos Local Government Elections held on Saturday July 24th, 2021 at Ward A, in Eti Osa Local Government cannot be deemed as free and fair. It was characterized by systemic voters suppression, intimidation and ballot stuffing. It is not surprising that voters apathy is now becoming the norm as voters are losing confidence in the voting process. The total voters turn out was estimated at less than 9% across the State. Democratic process would be imperiled if confidence is not restored in process urgently.
Our Campaign was crowd funded and blessed with spirited supporters, even in the face of exclusion by LASIEC and INEC. Still, our supporters believe in the expansion of our democratic space and the possibility of a better Nigeria, and that conviction shone brightly.
Although there was no level playing field, our Party won comfortably in several polling units. We were excluded from all processes leading to the Election. Supporters that registered to vote after 2018 were excluded from election by administrative fiat. Our votes were suppressed by the late arrival of voting materials, leading many of our voters to leave the polling units without having cast their votes. Materials arrived at 3:15pm for polls that closed at 3pm in some cases. Votes were cast in non-designated locations and inaccessible places including a Royal Palace. Specifically, there were 16 polling units. And, Polling units 03-08 were relocated to the Palace of Oba Elegushi of Ikate Land, which was inaccessible to voters to express their choice. Thereby disenfranchising our supporters. Only APC supporters and the electoral officials were allowed in. In polling units 09-011 located at Igbokusu, voters were intimidated and threatened with violence. Furthermore, our agents were harassed, threatened and chased away from their polling stations in Igbokusu where ballots were stuffed and people voted multiple times with the collusion of LASIEC officials and the police. The kind of rigging and violence deployed in these polling units should embarrass the Commission especially with the shameful videos of the rigging currently circulating the media space.
You were only allowed to vote if you were voting APC. Our agents were driven away and our report to the police was fruitless. In Poliing Units , 012,013, 014, 014a and 15 located at Lekki Phase 1, votes were heavily suppressed with late arrival of voting materials, wrong voting materials and relocation of polling units from the customary locations. Worse is that the collation center was moved without notice to a different location where our members were harassed and intimidated. Some of our supporters were roughed up or beaten up in some cases.
Despite all of these challenges, we presented capable and inspiring candidates, who campaigned vigorously and made their presence felt at the voting booth.
There are significant issues with Nigeria’s voting processes, especially for Local Government Elections and many of them were reflected in Saturday’s election. The Youth Party will continue to fight vigorously, at the polling booth and in courts of law, to enforce the rights of Nigerians to participate in the democratic space.
We are proud of our candidates, the campaigns they ran and our efforts at the elections, and grateful for the support of all of you who are passionate about building a better Nigeria and the expansion of the democratic space.
However, we have confidence in the leadership of LAISEC, headed by a revered Jurist and retired Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips(Rtd.).
There is no way Justice Philips will tolerate the conduct of many of her staff who did several things to embarrass the Commission. We therefore call on her to cancel the elections in Igbokusu and Ikate where the elections were massively and shamelessly rigged.
Another election should be conducted in Lekki Phase as well to redeem the credibility of the poll, We call for fresh elections in the affected polling units and urge the Commission to do everything possible to ensure that the conduct is free and fair.