Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Former Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Rowland Owie, has said until the National Assembly abolishes State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC), political parties should stop participating in the conduct of local government elections by state electoral bodies
Owie who lamented that state governments have converted state electoral commissions into another department in Government Houses, asserted that no true and genuine leadership can be enthroned at the local government level unless the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) takes over the conduct of local government elections.
The former Chief Whip of the Senate on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who is now the leader of Action Democratic Party (ADP) in the South South, said: â€œNigerians should stop deceiving themselves. SIECs all over Nigeria are departments of their various state governments. Since 1999, no credible local government election has been conducted in Nigeria. Recently, the APC in Taraba State demanded the refund of deposits paid by their candidates in the state local government election where the party claimed that the results were written in the state government.â€
Buttressing his argument further, Owie said: â€œDuring the last local government election in Edo State for instance, while collation of results was going on at Uromi, Esan North East, the result of that election was being announced in Benin City by the chairman of Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC). Whatever may be the shortcomings of INEC, elections conducted by the commission are to a larger extent credible. Until INEC takes over conduct of local government elections, state governors will continue to write the results for their parties.
â€œAnd the truth remains that until credible elections are held at the local level development will continue to elude the people and that is dehumanising. So I want to appeal to the National Assembly to urgently amend that constitution in this regard so that the authentic representatives of the people will emerge.â€