With only four days left to the July 22 council elections across the 20 LGs and 37 LCDAs in Lagos State, the State House of Assembly has hurriedly amended and passed into law, the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (Amendment) Bill 2017.
The bill which was passed into law during a plenary session yesterday, Monday, July 17, 2017, was an amendment of the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) Law 2015.
The motion to amend some sections of the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) Law 2015 which include Sec.28 and Sec. 62(i) was moved by the House Majority Leader, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade. He prayed that the amendment will seek time within which particular electoral activities could be done.
In addition, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade recommended the accelerated passage of the bill in accordance with section 101 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which empowers the various Houses Of Assembly in the country to regulate its proceedings as well as the standing order of the State House Of Assembly which empowers the house to abridge time of passage of bills before it.
In his contribution, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa emphasized that the essence of the bill is to create more legislative participation and flexibility for LASIEC to give room for adjustment in carrying out their activities and for political parties where necessary.
The bill, however, had an accelerated passage as it went through the first second and third reading at plenary before being passed.
The Speaker further directed the Clerk of the House, Mr. Azeez Sanni to send a clean copy of the bill to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for speedy assent.
The development, coming few days ahead of the council polls has however led to condemnation of the Assembly by concerned Mainlanders who opined that the bill was accelerated to serve the biddings of influential political figures.
Commenting on the process, a political analyst, Funmilayo Alebiosu, said the amendment will give room for substitution of candidates few days to the election. “The hurried passage of the amendment has a motive it plans to achieve. The amendment will allow political parties to do last minute substitution of candidates and announce new ones ahead of the elections,” she said.
“It looks good at the first look but when you look deeper with a proper analysis of the parts that were amended, it will favour some political parties to cover up or reduce court litigations when candidates who have cases are simply dropped for new ones,” she added.
Another Mainlander, Opabiyi Johnson said “the Assembly tried to prove smart with the action. This has never happened before in the history of the Lagos Assembly. How can a bill pass through first, second and third reading at once without even put through public discourse to determine its impact and immediate need?”