An All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain in Lagos, Fouad Oki, on Saturday called on members to stand up for internal democracy during primaries for the party’s flag-bearers in the July 24 councils’ poll.
In a statement in Lagos, titled “Re-Lagos State Local Government Election: Before the Cock Crow. Need to be Truthful, Fair, Equitable and Transparent With Lagosians”, Oki also advocated internal party democracy across parties.
The APC chieftain, who decried absence of internal party democracy in the ruling APC in Lagos, said that the forthcoming councils’ poll was another test for party leaders to allow members to choose flag-bearers in the election.
According to him, elections, especially at the intra-party level, showcase the extent of the depth of internal democracy in a political party as the process of choice agreed upon by a group of people.
“I invite and urge all people of good conscience to rise up and keep a vigil on the election primary which the party will organise to choose its flag-bearers in Lagos State.
“No meaningful electoral reforms or review will be attained if collectively we do not stand up to demand for a transparent and credible internal democracy exist in Lagos, particularly from the leading political party that have created a hegemonic environment over the state,” Oki said.
He noted that democracy and popular participation in the last two decades had been facing a crisis of legitimacy and declining confidence in political leaders and institutions in the state.
The APC chieftain, therefore, called on the party at the national level to rise up and intervene on the side of probity, free, fair, transparency and a credible nomination process.
He listed conditions for the conduct of a free and fair internal party nomination process to include establishment of an all-inclusive, independent, impartial, honest and competent party primary electoral committee who would manage party primary elections.
Oki, a former vice chairman of APC in Lagos State, tasked the security agents, media, civil society organisations and other stakeholders to contribute their quotas to credible, free and fair elections.
He urged LASIEC to monitor this season of political party primaries, congresses and conventions to elect leaders at various levels of party organisation.
Oki said that the level of violence in some of the past party primaries and congresses was making it difficult for people to participate.
“LASIEC should exercise its statutory oversight responsibility enshrined in Sections 85 and 87 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
“Political parties should be admonished that they have a clear obligation to ensure that their Congresses and Conventions are orderly, democratic and in accordance with extant legal framework, their own constitutions, and guidelines, as well as extant regulations and guidelines.
“The Commission should not stand askance and watch internal party activities and Congresses degenerate into farcical rituals and violent fiascos that threaten lives and destroy property,” he said.
He promised to set in motion all legal apparatus necessary to ensure that APC under the Caretaker Committee carry out the exercise without fear, let or favour.
According to him, no doubt, the whole state, indeed, the country is immensely interested in how events at the Lagos council elections will play out. (NAN)