1 of 2
Mrs Funmi Wakama
Mrs Funmi Wakama - Senior Special Assistant on Media & Communications to the Governor of Ogun State.
2 of 2
Amosun charges LG officers
Ogun State's Local Government Chairmen and Councillors in the recently concluded polls were inaugurated by the Governor - Senator Ibikunle Amosun with a charge to hit the ground running, as they have become trustees of the people's mandate.
Amosun said that Local Government officials are important as they are closer to the people, and are therefore essential in bringing development to the State right to the grassroot levels.
By Funmi Wakama
On Saturday, July 21, 2012, the much-anticipated local government elections took place in Ogun State.
Contrary to reports and insinuations in some quarters, the elections went peacefully in a free and fair atmosphere to the admiration of the good people of Ogun State and independent observers who came to monitor the polls.
The Coalition of Accredited Civil Society Organisations for Ogun State Local Government Elections gave the exercise thumbs up at a press conference in the following words: "That we inspected sensitive and non-sensitive election materials at the OGSIEC Headquarters before they were dispatched to various Local Government Areas.
"That the electoral law and due process were adequately adhered to, especially in the accreditation, voting, counting and announcement of results.
"We observed that different Political Parties, which included the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), keenly participated in the elections..."
Nine of the political parties which fielded candidates in the elections, under the umbrella of Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), also addressed a press conference where they commended the state government for giving OGSIEC free hands to operate.
The report of the observers merely corroborated the views of the good people of Ogun State across the local councils where elections took place.
It is not out of place to have some hitches on the day of elections in a young 'electoral democracy' like Nigeria. For instance, the issue of missing names on the voter register has been with us since the return of civil rule in 1999; we are yet to produce an error free voter register.
Complaints relating to missing names in the register ought to have been overcome by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) since state electoral bodies such as the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC) rely on the voter register provided by the national body to conduct elections.
I believe the new INEC headed by the highly respected Prof Attahiru Jega will do something urgently to sanitise the voter register.
Judging by our past experiences in Nigeria, the turn-out of voters at the polls, in my own view, can be improved upon as governments across the federation provide an enabling environment for credible elections and also deliver the dividends of democracy to the people.
Just as Senator Amosun observed during last Saturday's local council polls, "This is the very first time we are conducting local government elections in a free and fair atmosphere since 1999. The last exercise under the previous administration was so marred by malpractices and an atmosphere of fear, terror and intimidation such that opposition parties had to boycott the polls. So we are having under the current administration free and fair polls with every party participating."
The elected chairmen and councillors should now settle down to deliver on their promises to the electorate.
Just as the governor said during the swearing-in ceremony on Monday, they should immediately hit the ground running, as they have become trustees of the people's mandate.
* Funmi Wakama is the Senior Special Assistant on Media & Communications to the Governor of Ogun State.