The Chairman, Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, Hon. Justice Ayotunde Phillips, has appealed to security agencies in the State to collaborate with the Commission in ensuring violence-free elections before, during and after the July 22, 2017 elections into the 57 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas of the State..
While speaking with the Commissioner of Police in the State, Mr. Fatai Owoseni and his team, the Chairman promised that the Commission would engage in regular discussions with security agencies on how to ensure peace and security during the electoral process at the Local Government level of the State..
Hon. Justice Phillips revealed that the Commission had entered into partnership with the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC ) on the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards ( PVCs ) to enable every registered voter collect his/her PVC before the elections so that more people could actively participate in the elections..
She added that the Commission had embarked on sensitization of the public through the mass media on the on-going distribution of PVCs in the 245 Registration Area Centres of the State. She, therefore, appealed to all eligible voters to take advantage of the opportunity to collect their PVCs and show more interest and commitment towards the electoral process, particularly at the local government level of the State..
The Chairman also pledged that the Commission would provide a level playing ground for all political parties and their candidates, stressing, however, that politicians must have confidence in the ability of the Commission to conduct free, fair and credible elections into the 57 LGAs/LCDAs of the State..
Also speaking at the occasion, the Commissioner of Police in the State, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, assured the Commission of the support of the police towards ensuring hitch-free elections, noting that this is part of the statutory functions of the police that must be undertaken..
Mr. Owoseni disclosed that it was because of this reason that he held a meeting with the Chairmen and Secretaries of political parties in the State as part of the efforts of the police to ensure violence-free elections..
He also informed the Chairman of the Commission that his meeting with the political parties revealed that the decision of the Commission to collect administrative fees from aspirants into the Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas of the State was not favourably disposed to by politicians. He, therefore, urged the two parties to resolve the issue amicably..
The Police Commissioner also revealed that he had directed Divisional Police Officers in the State to engage with leaders of political parties under their jurisdiction to ensure hitch-free elections. He also disclosed that he would appoint an officer who would facilitate regular interface between the Police and the Commission..
Mr. Owoseni noted that as the elections are around the corner, the Commission must start paying more attention to public enlightenment and voter education, stressing that the more enlightened the electorate are, the easier the task of the conduct of the elections..
He also urged media practitioners and reporters to be accurate, modest and be careful in the use of language employed when reporting electoral matters to avoid creating unnecessary tension and acrimony among the people, adding that the press must also help the Commission in educating the electorate on the electoral process..
Also during the visit of the Commission to the Commandants of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force at the 9 Brigade, Ikeja, Hon. Justice Phillips appealed to the military to also assist the Commission in ensuring security for the people to ensure the successful conduct of the elections..
The Chairman promised to forward copies of the Notice of Election issued by the Commission to the military chiefs to enable them plan adequately for areas of intervention and assistance to the Commission..
Responding, Brigadier- General Attu pledged that the military would provide security back-up to secure election personnel and election materials to ensure the successful conduct of the elections, adding that the military was concerned about the menace of militancy and would do everything possible to curb the negative development in the State..
The military chiefs also requested the Commission to provide them with relevant information on any flash points and other areas requiring the special intervention of the military..
The Commission later visited the Director, Department of State Service, Mrs. B. Adoki, at Shangisha, Magodo, Lagos where the Chairman also requested for support towards ensuring adequate security to guarantee hitch-free elections into the 57 LGAs/LCDAs of the State..
On the entourage of the Chairman were Chief ( Mrs. ) Toyin Ibrahim- Famakinwa, Mr. Olusegun Ayedun ( both LASIEC Commissioners ), Mr. Nurudeen Mabayoje Salami, Permanent Secretary of the Commission and some senior officers of the Commission..