Kwara LG Polls: Don’t Postpone Council Elections, Group Cautions KWSIEC

Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission (KWSIEC) has been urged not to postpone September 21 local government elections.

Concerned Kwarans Group (CKG), a civic group deeply committed to the well-being and security of Kwara State, made this call on Sunday while addressing newsmen in Ilorin, the state capital.

The Publicity Secretary of the group, Comrade Issa Lukman Oluwadare, says Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq administration failed to conduct local government elections for five years.

The statement read in part

Kwara State was created on May 27, 1967, alongside Lagos State. However, despite this shared inception, Kwara lack significantly behind in comparison to the massive achievements seen in Lagos over the years. Our people have been subjected to political sycophancy while the state struggles to compete economically and socially with its peers.

This backwardness is a direct result of successive poor leadership, as evidenced by their failure to fulfill their many promises, including the promise to flag off the activities leading to the conduct of local government elections in February 2024.

In 2019, the political atmosphere in Kwara State changed with the ‘O to ge’ revolution movement, which ended the Saraki dynasty’s influence. High expectations were set, and Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq promised to transform the state and prioritize the needs of Kwarans above all else.

During his inaugural address in 2019, Governor AbdulRazaq promised institutional reforms, infrastructural development, human capacity building, social welfare enhancements, and various socio-economic, cultural, scientific, and administrative repositionings.

However, the reality has been starkly different. Within a month of taking office, Governor AbdulRazaq sacked all 16 lawfully elected local government chairmen over allegations of financial misappropriation, without proper investigation or due process. These chairmen, elected in 2017, were dismissed before their term ended. As we all know, neither the governor nor the state assembly has the authority to suspend or sack elected officials without due process.

Since 2019, political recklessness has matured under Governor AbdulRazaq’s administration. He failed to conduct local government elections, even after the former president, Muhammadu Buhari, signed an Executive Order in 2020 granting financial autonomy to the legislature and judiciary across the 36 states.

Despite continuous pressure and agitation from Concerned Kwarans and other civil society organizations, the government only hastily inaugurated the Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission (KWSIEC). This body, however, has demonstrated a lack of commitment and competence, as evidenced by their failure to conduct elections as promised. It’s not surprising that the KWASIEC hastily announced the notice of election a day after the House of Representative moved a motion to review the electoral law to conffer power of conducting Local Government Elections on the INEC.

Therefore, we call on all law-abiding and well-meaning Kwarans to elect representatives who genuinely care about their welfare and will listen to their concerns, rather than individuals who pursue personal interests.

Now, with KWSIEC setting the local government elections for September 21, 2024, we have the following demands:

1. Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq must provide adequate support in terms of funds, materials, and human resources to KWSIEC to ensure a free and fair election without any excuses for postponement.

2. All the political parties are urged to respect the Democratic process in their internal party activities so that the elections can represent the true will of the people.

3. Opposition parties should be allowed full participation in the local government elections without intimidation, harassment, or arrests of any stakeholders.

4. KWSIEC must remain impartial and avoid any form of compromise that could undermine the electoral process.

5. Concerned Kwarans will actively participate in and monitor all electoral activities to ensure transparency and fairness.

6. KWSIEC should promptly release a detailed election timetable and conduct public enlightenment campaigns to prepare Kwarans for the elections.

7. From the available records, the 16 Local Governments in the state have collected about 40bn billion naira as FAAC in the last eight to nine months. We thereby urge the KWASIEC to ensure free, fair and most credible elections are conducted in the interest of the people and their integrity as Kwarans.

8. CKG support PBT and the Federal Government for the bold step of taking the 36 states Governor to court over the issue of the LGs. The CKG shall organize a solidarity walk in support of the FG action at a later date

Thank you, gentlemen of the press.

 

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