TUESDAY TRENDS – LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS
On Saturday, July 22, 2017, Local Government elections were held across Lagos State, and Lagos being Lagos in July, it featured every bit of rain the clouds could muster. The run-in to these local government elections brought with it a new kind of drama that we had never witnessed before, (funnily enough, we now expect worse in the next general elections scheduled to hold in 2019).
Two years after taking over the federal government and eighteen years after being in charge of Lagos state (via different party structures) the APC is still unable to hold Primary Elections free of rancor even at local government level. I so look forward to the 2018 Presidential Primaries. PDP meanwhile concluded their leadership tussle at the apex court of the land, the winner comes out to declare “No victor, No vanquished” while his supporters celebrate behind him and his opponents are looking for a higher court to proceed to. (I wonder how busy or less busy they are over at the ECOWAS Court and the other court at The Hague).
In the weeks leading up to the Local Government Elections, the Makarfi led faction of the PDP in Lagos state had announced a merger with the Labour Party, asking its members and sympathizers to vote for all Labour Party candidates. Considering that the Court decided on the leadership case a few days to the elections, this was a smart move as the Sheriff led faction was being recognized to be legitimate by the electoral umpire LASIEC.
The victory at the court would have been a good enough ground to ask for a postponement of the polls but this is Nigeria where some states have never held local government elections since we returned back to democratic rule in 1999. You take what you get, you choose your battles.
Rain in Lagos has no respect for neither big boys and big girls, nor politics and democracy. A couple of days earlier, the Islands had witnessed massive flooding and LASIEC might have deployed all their boats if they had any in that direction, but the rain one-upped everyone. The mainland got its own dose of the “water treatment” on Saturday. The only way elections could have held successfully all over Lagos was if LASIEC had borrowed all the canoes the Lagos state government had used in beautifying the state for the Lagos at 50 shenanigans.
In conclusion, on this whole local government election palaver, every state governor who decides to show “magnanimity” and conduct a Local Government Election in his state ends up with his political party having either a “clean sweep” of all contested posts or “almost a clean sweep”. This is irrespective of the antecedent of the governor in question. I wonder if this is the “will of the people” or “political abracadabra”.