By Adeseye Ojoye
The Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), has reiterated its commitment to the conduct of credible, free and fair elections in the State, stressing that it is an impartial election management body consciously putting in place all the required machinery to achieve orderly elections.
Chairman, LASIEC, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, who made this disclosure at a three-day pre-election retreat organised for staffers at Ikeja, said the Commission will continue to build and sustain its integrity as an impartial body recognised for excellence in electoral administration and the sustenance of democracy.
The LASIEC boss said “the retreat, with the theme Electoral Integrity and Administration of Local Council Election, is essentially to review and evaluate our state of preparedness for the forthcoming Local Government elections, as the tenure of the elected Council officials in the State is gradually coming to an end”.
Speaking further, the Chairman disclosed that the retreat would be in two batches, noting that the current batch comprises of the top echelon of the Commission, while the second batch would have in attendance other senior staff.
This, she said, is to ensure that the Commission’s officials are in tune with the modern realities of election administration and conduct.
Justice Philips emphasised LAISEC’s readiness for the election, adding that the Commission had inspected and ascertained the functionality of its offices in each Local Government Council, stressing that those below expectation are urgently receiving attention.
She further disclosed that the Commission has also invested in staff training and election observation missions both at local and international level.
“Similarly, we are exploring a new approach to ensure the health and safety of voters and election personnel during the poll in line with the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic”, she noted.
Justice Phillips also disclosed that non-sensitive materials have already been dispatched to remote areas with difficult terrains for logistic purposes, adding that the Commission’s new uncluttered and user-friendly website will soon be unveiled to further boost communication between the Commission and its various publics.
He assured that LAISEC would continue to build and sustain its integrity as an impartial body, Justice Phillips while urging Lagosians to perform their civic rights during the Local Government election.
A facilitator, Mr. Sina Odugbemi, who spoke on “Voter Apathy: Evaluation of the roles of stakeholders”, opined that for a democratic system to function effectively all stakeholders must actively participate and collaborate in the electoral process.
He submitted that all stakeholders have constitutional, statutory, political and moral responsibility to drive the democratic process, which is why all of them must be carried along at all times to enhance full participation and bring about more credibility to the electoral process.
In the same vein, one of the facilitators, a retired Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy, Mrs. Toro Oladapo, attributed lack of trust in the system as one of the reasons for voters’ apathy.
While stating that the retreat will help in building the capacity of electoral officials, Oladapo urged the Commission to deploy all available media, especially the social media, to reach out to the voting public and also monitor how its activities are being reported,
Earlier, the Lead Facilitator and a former LASIEC Permanent Secretary, Mr. Adeyinka Jeje, urged the government to consider e-election as a tool in the electoral process.
Jeje noted that e-election would help reduce human interaction and encourage inclusive participation in the electoral process.