Saturday, February 27, 2016 8:23 pm
The law setting up the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, LASIEC, is currently being amended provisions against issues that could arise in the course of elections in the state.
One of the major issues being looked into in the law concerns ways to avoid a repetition of the sad incident that befell Prince Abubakar Audu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, during the governorship election in Kogi State.
Audu had died just hours before the collation of the results of the election in December, 2015. His death prompted a legal tussle between his running mate, James Faleke, and his party on who takes his place.
At a public hearing at the Lagos State House of Assembly, chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Public Petitions and LASIEC, Funmilayo Tejuosho, said the LASIEC law passed in 2008, was being amended to forestall any of such incidents that befell Kogi State during the election.
Tejuosho noted that rules guiding any society or circumstance must be dynamic and should be open to review from time to time.
“PVC is a new development that has to be included in our laws.
“It is important to note that the Kogi State gubernatorial debacle was not envisaged in the constitution and Electoral Act.
“We have to continue to amend our laws and we have tried to put that in our amendment.
“The amendment of the law would reduce cases in the courts because when the law is clear, you don’t have to go for the interpretation of the law.
“We have to ensure that laws are in place for local governments and Local Council Development Areas, LCDA, especially as they prepare for election which will happen soon. They must have laws that will guide them,” she said.
Olumide Lawal, a resident of Lagos present at the stakeholders’ meeting, suggested a provision to take care of the remuneration of tribunal members in the law.
“Those who work in the tribunals should be equipped with recording gadgets because they still write with long hands, which is supposed not to be.
“At times, we have cases where we have 150 witnesses and this takes time when we use long hands to write their evidences,” he said.
The United Action for Change, UAC, in its presentation, urged the House to include some provisions that would make elections easy and less contentious in the state.
As reviewed by the Majority Leader of the House, Sanai Agunbiade, the amendment to the LASIEC law contains nine sections.
One of such amendments to the law states that “where a person duly elected as chairman of LG/LCDA dies before subscribing to oath of allegiance, the person elected with him as vice chairman shall be sworn-in as chairman.”
A representative of LASIEC told the guests that the election for the local councils in Lagos was yet to hold due to the delay by the Independent National Electoral Commission to provide it with voters register.
“The people in charge visited our office and promised to make the list available as soon as possible,” he said.
In her response, Tejuosho noted the aspiration of Lagos residents to see the election hold.
“We are glad that LASIEC explained to the stakeholders why the local government election has not held. They are also eager to conduct the election and they are working hard to get the voters register before the election,” she repeated.
She noted that the stakeholders responded well and that others had promised to submit their memoranda to the House.