2021 Ogun LG Election: Dominance of One Political Party is a Threat to Democracy - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

2021 Ogun LG Election: Dominance of One Political Party is a Threat to Democracy


Many States including Ogun State have finalized plans to conduct the Local Government Elections after months and years of delay.

Despite declaring as illegal, by the Court, the appointment of caretaker or transition committees to steer the activities of the third tier of government, Governor Dapo Abiodun and many other State Governors allowed them to be in the saddle for over a year.

The Covid-19 pandemics and other reasons were given by the State Governments for not conducting the Local Government elections.

Aspirants who wish to occupy different elective positions were apprehensive as the waiting period seems endless before Governor Dapo Abiodun eventually announced the composition of the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC).

The State electoral umpire has lifted ban on campaign after releasing time-table for the conduct of the election that will lead to the emergence of chairmen and councilors into the 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Ogun State.

The political activities in the State were further heated up after the All Progressives Congress (APC) announced the modalities for the emergence of its flag bearers in the LG election.

The primaries conducted through consensus, direct or indirect methods seem to be the beginning and end of the 2021 L.G election in Ogun State. This makes the stake in the APC primaries to be very high.

This is because there seems not to be opposition in the State as no major activities are being carried out by other political parties, aside the ruling party. 

The political antecedents in Nigeria indicated that the ruling party always sweeps virtually all elective positions in this election.

How healthy is this antecedent to democracy? The dominance of one political party is a threat to democracy. One of the basic principles that made democracy work is "Separation of Power" and "Check and Balances". When members of one political party do not only hold sway in all elective positions but also suppress the opposition, it portends great danger to democracy.

Though there are arguments that opposition sometime stagnated growth and development as unhealthy rivalry among the political parties could lead to distractions for the officials; it has also been established that if the ruling party is left alone without check, they abuse their offices.

In Ogun State, as the 2021 election approaches, the opposition political parties seem to be on hibernation giving the inactivate mode they activated after the 2019 general elections.

This development is unhealthy for our democracy and emergence of all APC cabinet in the 20 LGAs portends great danger to development. 

The opposition political parties need to understand the enormity of their role in a democratic setting and must therefore brace up to that responsibility.

The ruling political party should not frustrate efforts by the opposition political parties to occupy chunk of the positions available, they should consider the responsibility as germane to our democracy.

The opposition we are advocating is not an unhealthy one, it is expected to check abuse of power and lead to the expected development at the grassroots. 

There is need to put policy framework in place to empower the opposition political parties to carry out their expected responsibility. 

The advocacy and call for the LG elections to be conducted by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) rather than OGSIEC might not be out of place but might defeat the call for devolution of power as contained in the restructuring agenda.

In the alternative, the setting up and appointment of members of the States Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) should be rested in the Chief Judge of each State. 

The heavy monetisation of the electoral process is another major stumbling block that will not allow people with integrity and high moral value to venture into politics.

It is high time we limit the amount of money for the purchase of interest forms of political parties and electoral bodies. This is the time to engage in massive change in value orientation of all stakeholders especially the politicians and the electorates.

The framework for the conduct of LG election should be made to allow level playing ground for all.

In order not to continue to allow the ruling party to dominate the political process, the opposition political parties must be protected from the use of state resources by the sitting governors and their political parties to suppress them.

A true restructuring must start from the conduct of Local Government elections that is expected to lead to the emergence of those who will have the minds of their own to truly clamour for autonomy of the Local Governments but not puppets or stooges of the governors.

Many States Governors advocating for restructuring are only paying lip services, as they are frustrating efforts to restructure at their own level. The autonomy of the State Judiciary and Local Governments will address many development concerns in the country.

The dominance of One-Party structure will tend to play up mediocrity in all spheres of governance, allowing the best to suffer unjustly. In that setting, there is no way the best of creative ideas will resonate for progress. 

The system is likely to breed underground cells of dangerous social dissonant and deviants who are likely to disrupt the system without any formal structure. The recent #EndSARS' protest is a classical case study 

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