YIAGA Recommends Improvements for Local Government Election in Lagos

YIAGA Recommends Improvements for Local Government Election in Lagos

A non-governmental organisation, YIAGA Africa, has proposed some recommendations to the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) in order to improve on the conduct of Local Government elections in the state. Top on the list is for LASIEC to deepen inclusivity by reviewing its guidelines and make provisions to enable free participation of persons with

A non-governmental organisation, YIAGA Africa, has proposed some recommendations to the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) in order to improve on the conduct of Local Government elections in the state.

Top on the list is for LASIEC to deepen inclusivity by reviewing its guidelines and make provisions to enable free participation of persons with disabilities in future local government election in the state.

YIAGA also recommends to LASIEC a more data-oriented approach to election administration through the disaggregation of candidates’ list to include gender, age and disability.

The recommendations were contained in the report of the organisations’ monitoring of the Lagos State local government election held on Saturday, July 24, 2021 under its ‘watching the vote’ project.

During the election, candidates were successfully elected to fill Chairmanship and Councillorship positions in twenty Local Government Areas (LGAs) and thirty-seven Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) last Saturday 24 July 2021.

In the report, YIAGA also called on LASIEC to investigate alleged incidents of electoral fraud and other malpractices especially as reportedly perpetrated by the officials of the Commission and ensure that those found guilty are disciplined.

Another recommendation by YIAGA is that “the electoral law be reviewed to introduce a system of the review of results declared by the returning officers which were not declared in accordance with the electoral law and guidelines”.

Following the observations by its ‘Watching the vote’ team, YIAGA said the election recorded low turnout, which showed that the citizens probably lacked interest in participating. Other observations included the late deployment of polling materials, delayed opening of polls, and non-guarantee of the secrecy of the ballot.

The report stated that majority of the polls were yet to be set up by 8.30 in the morning with no polling official seen in sixty-one of the polling units across the state. ‘’By 10:00am, only seventeen of the polling units visited had polling officials present’’, the report said.

The report however noted that election materials were deployed In all the polling units although majority of the smartcard readers were not fully charged while they were not used in some of the polling units visited by the ‘Watch the Vote’ team. According to the report the non-usage of the smart card readers in some polling units is related to the quality of training received by the election officials.

The report noted that there was attempted ballot box snatching In one of the wards at Badagry while there were other critical incidents in Badagry, Eti-Osa, Ikorodu, Kosofe and Lagos Island where the results were either partially announced or not announced”. Kosofe and Badagry had similar cases as officials did not announce the total number of registered and accredited voters.

On Covid-19, the report showed that there was about 50% compliance with safety and health measures like hand sanitizing, temperature check and compulsory wearing of face masks.

On security, the report noted that security officials were in all collation centers except in Lagos Island collation center.

To ensure the successful conduct of local government elections, YIAGA said the National Assembly should pass the bill amending the constitution to guarantee LGA autonomy and independence. It also urged civil society organizations and development partners to actively engage State Independent Electoral Commissions to promote the credibility of elections at the local level.

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