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Communiqué of the Stakeholders’ Post-Election Forum on Lagos State Local Government Election

Held on Thursday August 10, 2017 at All Seasons Conference Centre, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos.

COMMUNIQUÉ

Introduction

The International Press Centre (IPC) held a one-day Stakeholders’ Post-Election Forum on the recent Lagos State Local Government Election on Thursday, August 10, 2017 at the main hall of All Seasons Conference Centre, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos State.

The event was organized in furtherance of series of citizens engagement programmes for community members from eighteen (18) communities across six (6) Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Lagos State, namely, Amuwo Odofin, Surulere, Shomolu, Ikorodu, Lagos Mainland and Ifako-Ijaiye under the Strengthening Citizens Engagement in Electoral Process (SCEEP) project, being implemented in Lagos by IPC and supported by ACTIONAID Nigeria and the UKAID through the Department for International Development (DFID).

Over 120 participants drawn from the communities as well as representatives of institutional stakeholders including the National Orientation Agency (NOA), the National Conscience Party (NCP), KOWA and ACCORD parties, election monitors/key CSO stakeholders, youth, women and People Living with Disabilities (PWDs) and the media attended the forum. Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, Special Adviser to Lagos Governor on Communities & Communications was special guest of honour while Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, the Chair, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), delivered the lead presentation on the theme, Post analysis of Lagos State LG elections: Appraisal of stakeholders’ involvement- the issues, gaps and prospects for improvement”.

Objective

The objective of the forum was to assess stakeholders’ contribution towards the elections, identify the gaps and learn from the issues in order to have improvement in future elections.

Messages, remarks & presentations

The event was moderated by Mrs. Bridget Osakwe, Coordinator of West African Network of Peace Building (WANEP) and received goodwill messages from Mr. John Emah, representing Mr. Waheed Ishola, Director of Lagos State National Orientation Agency (NOA); Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, Special Adviser to Lagos Governor on Communities & Communications; SCEEP partners from Imo, Akwa Ibom, Kano and Kaduna States and representatives of three political parties – KOWA, NCP and ACCORD.

In her paper, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, who is also the Executive Director of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC) gave an overview of the outcome of the monitoring of the elections. She said while it was good that the election was held there were issues with the legal framework, the conduct of the primaries, low participation, etc. Dr. Adewale Aderemi, Senior lecturer, Department of Political Science, Lagos State University (LASU) contributed to the presentation under the sub-theme, “Post analysis of the Lagos 2017 local government elections: Issues arising and way forward in advancing stakeholders role in deepening the electoral processes” and said the observations by Dr. Akiyode-Afolabi were worth addressing.

Observations

Following the remarks and presentations, participants during the plenary observed as follows:

  • The local government is plays important role in a democracy as it is the tier of government closest to the grassroots but it is worrisome that attempts are being made to render local councils ineffectual
  • There is the need to get democracy right at the local government level as only then can we get it right at the state and federal levels.
  • There was evidence of lack of internal party democracy across some of the political parties as candidates were imposed in most cases which snowballed into violence during the party primaries.
  • There was evident of citizens’ and voters’ apathy during the July 22 Lagos State local government elections such that the turnout of voters was very low.
  • The citizenry have individual and collective stakes to make elections credible in Nigeria; election should not be seen as the business of government alone but that of everyone.
  • Democracy will only work better if citizens take interest in and not to be nonchalant because being nonchalant, the citizens are disenfranchised and thus give room for politicians to legitimize what is illegitimate.
  • Media reportage of the Lagos State local government elections was skewed in favour of the ruling political party to the detriment of other parties.
  • Opposition political parties did not deploy sufficient formidable campaign strategies to counter the influence of the ruling party ahead of the elections.

 Recommendations/Resolutions

Arising from the observations, participants recommended as follows:

  • The State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) should be made more independent, particularly in their financing, in order for them to be able to prepare adequately for local elections and obtain the level of trust people have in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
  • Citizens’ stakeholder groups should insist on internal party democracy; at the minimum, parties should present candidates through consensus.
  • Community development associations and committees should sensitize their members on the need to participate in the political process and not disenfranchise themselves.
  • Persons living with disabilities should be taken into consideration in elections and their various needs addressed by the electoral commission.
  • Sensitizations and voter education should also be sustained to address voter apathy and get citizens and voters to participate more in the electoral processes.
  • Civil society organizations and related stakeholders should step up and increase interactions with more grassroots communities to reduce citizens and voters apathy.
  • Communities in Lagos State should familiarize themselves with structures put in place by the state government to address grassroots developmental issues and make use of them

Conclusion

Participants at the Stakeholders’ Post-Election Forum on Lagos State Local Government Elections expressed gratitude to IPC and its partners; ACTIONAID and UKAID through the Department for International Development (DFID) for supporting the organization of the forum.

Signed:

Lanre Arogundade

Director, International Press Centre (IPC)

 Lanre Arogundade

Director
Tel: +234 (0) 8023186845 , +234 (0) 8067144874
Email: larogundade@ipcng.org, larogundade@gmail.com
Twitter: @lanreipc l Skype: lanre.arogundade2

International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos, Nigeria
IPC is Nigeria’s foremost media capacity development organization.
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