The Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission OYSIEC, has fixed the local government election in the 33 local government councils in the state for May 15.
This is coming in spite of the ongoing litigation by the sacked council chairmen in the state under the aegis of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria.
Recall that the sacked council chairmen whose tenure should have expired in May 2021 were shown the way out of offices shortly after Governor Seyi Makinde assumed office in 2019.
However, the aggrieved council chairmen have since challenged the action using the instrument of law and negotiation.
The OYSIEC, at a press conference held at its state secretariat on Monday, announced the release of the timetable and guidelines for the local government election in the 33 with the exclusion of the local council development authorities in the state.
The state Chairman of OYSIEC in the state, Aare Isiaka Olagunju SAN, while addressing journalists on the occasion, said the Commission would midwife the exercise as an unbiased umpire.
Olagunju said, “We have told the political parties that our allegiance is to the people of Oyo State. We made it clear to them that we are going into the process as an unbiased umpire. We do not belong to any party and we are not serving the interest of any party in particular but the interest of the people of the state.
“Space would be opened for campaign between February 17 to 14th May. We need the stakeholders support and cooperation for the success of this programme. You will agree with me that the Constitution empowers us to announce the election date. We shall, hereafter, write political parties in a bid to notify them officially,” OYSIEC said.
Asked of the time when the sitting caretaker chairmen in the councils would vacate their seats, he said, “What I know is that they are to be there for three months and the period would expire.”
He said the situation where the public are denied the right to be governed by duly elected local government chairmen is regrettable, stressing that “By our notice, we are conducting elections in the 33 local government councils in the state. The law is very clear on what a current office holders who is interested in vying for elective position should do.”
He urged stakeholders to give total support and cooperation to the Commission in its drive towards the conduct of free, fair, credible and transparent local government election in the state.
“In compliance with Section 30 Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), Section 5 (a) and Paragraph 1 (1) Schedule 2 of the State Independent Electoral Commission Law CAP 154, Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria 2000, the general public is hereby informed that elections will be conducted in 33 local government councils in Oyo State on Saturday 15th May, 2021 between 8am and 3pm.
“In the circumstance, prospective candidates are expected to obtain nomination forms in respect of the elections into their local government councils at the Commission’s headquarters situated at Quarters 484, Total Garden –Gate Road, Agodi GRA, Ibadan on or before Monday 30th April,” Olagunju said.