By Oluwakemi Ishola
The Oyo State Chapter of Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) has faulted the method employed by the Governor Seyi Makinde-led State government in the constitution of Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC).
In a press statement signed by her State Secretary – Comrade Ayodeji Adigun, the party said the new OYSIEC members were unilaterally appointed by the Governor and presented to the State house of assembly for screening and confirmation.
Part of the statement reads:
Given this kind of approach which is the usual practice of successive pro-capitalist governments in the State and also nationally at the federal level and other states irrespective of political parties in power, it is not unlikely that the individuals appointed who had been reportedly screened and confirmed by members of the Oyo State House of Assembly are either acolytes of the Governor/members of his political party or members of the other political parties in the coalition that ushered in Engr Seyi Makinde-led government.
There is no way an OYSIEC of this kind of composition will ever be independent or free from undue influence and interference of the Governor. It therefore means that it will be extremely difficult if not impossible for this undemocratic OYSIEC to organise and conduct a local government election that is not going to be manipulated and maneuvered in favour of the candidates of the People Democratic Party, PDP as the ruling party and their political allies.
This is why we believe in SPN that the local government elections that will be organised by the newly constituted OYSIEC is not likely to be better if not worse than the farce given to us as local government elections in May 2018 by the last Ajeigbe led OYSIEC. The said local government elections that were conducted by the Mr Ajeigbe-led OYSIEC that was set up by the immediate past APC/late Senator Abiola Ajimobi-led government in the same way and manner as this newly constituted Engr Seyi Makinde-led Government OYSIEC was characterised by all forms of illegality, impunity and electoral frauds.
Therefore, to organise a local government election that will be free, fair and credible will definitely require an OYSIEC that its control and activities will be freed from the undue influence and interference of the State government. This can only be possible if the composition of such kind of OYSIEC is made up of elected representatives of trade unions like NLC,TUC and ASUU, professional organisations like NBA, NUJ, credible civil society organisations and all politic professional. Also the principal officers of the commission like the chairman will be elected among members. This is against the current undemocratic situation whereby the chairman of the commission was solely and unilaterally appointed by the Governor.
The decision by the present Seyi Makinde-led PDP administration in Oyo State to have unilaterally hand-picked the membership of an OYSIEC including its chairman that is supposed to be an umpire in an electoral process has further shown to the public that the government is not in any way different from the past late Ajimobi led APC government and other pro capitalist governments in the past that have constituted OYSIEC in like manner.
We call on the working people, youth, trade unions and pro-masses civil society organizations to support our position and also make the same demand in order to ensure the democratic right of the masses to elect their own leaders is not manipulated and trampled underfoot.