June 21, 2024

LP’s Eradiri criticises Bayelsa LG electoral process

LP’s Eradiri criticises Bayelsa LG electoral process

Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa

The Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate in the Nov 11, 2023 poll in Bayelsa, Engr. Udengs Eradiri has decried the ongoing local government electoral process in the state.

Eradiri who spoke to newsmen on Thursday in Yenagoa, described the exercise leading to the April 6 council elections in the eight local governments in Bayelsa as undemocratic and shameful.

According to him, the entire electoral process was fraught with high-handedness, corrupt practices and other irregularities with results already predetermined by the state government.

He said it was not surprising that members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were all over the streets boasting publicly that the results of the yet-to-be-conducted poll had been written to allow only the candidates of their party to sweep the entire positions.

Eradiri, a former Commissioner for Youth and later Environment said the state Governor had allowed everything he complained about ahead of the just-concluded governorship election in the state to characterise the LG poll scheduled for Saturday.

“From a compromised Bayelsa State Electoral Commission to a process designed to favour only the ruling PDP, the local government electoral process in Bayelsa is laughable, non-competitive and undemocratic and will surely become a scam, a sham and a charade”, he said.

Eradiri wondered why governors like Diri could not muster the political will to initiate local government electoral reforms, but would constantly and loudly call for the reforms of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) especially whenever their party was not in control at the centre.

He said: “It will still go down in history that Governor Douye Diri is among the governors killing the local government administration in Nigeria. These governors manipulate local government administrations in their various states by compromising the grassroots elections to deny the people genuine representations.

“They plant their goons as chairmen and councillors after agreeing on sharing a formula of resources accruing to local government. So, instead of being an independent tier of government, the local government has become an appendage of the state governor, an extension of his office.

“This flagrant abuse of the constitution by governors like Diri has gone on unchallenged for a long time contributing to entrenching poverty at the grassroots. The overbearing influence of governors on our local government has rendered an important tier of government impotent and unable to deliver its constitutional mandate”.

Eradiri, a former President of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) recalled that a former Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, once reformed the local government election in his state, introduced electronic voting that created a level playing field that allowed the opposition PDP to win some local government areas.

Eradiri said it was high time the National Assembly and the President came to the rescue of local government administration by removing the greedy grip of governors from it.

He called for a total overhaul of the section of the constitution establishing the local government to remove aspects promoting the undue influence of local government by governors.

He specifically urged the National Assembly to amend the law establishing local government administration to allow the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct elections for vacant positions.

He said: “Until the people are allowed to elect their leaders at the grassroots freely, the local government will continue to serve only the interests of governors and not those of the people.

“And until local government is restructured to play its functions, the growth and development of this country will continue to slow down.”

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