The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Alliance for Democracy (AD) are divided over the forthcoming local government elections in Kwara State.
The election are scheduled for November 4, 2017 by the state electoral body (KWASIEC) but while the PDP said it would participate fully in the poll, the AD said it has no confidence in the exercise and as such would not be fielding any candidates.
State chairman of the PDP, Prince Sunday Fagbemi, said on phone that the party would field candidates.
He had earlier directed leaders of the party at the local government level to begin the process of preparing their members for the polls and expressed confidence that an earlier postponement of the election would help the party to put its house in order and fight to win seats in the council areas.
He said the national body of the PDP had called the two factions in the state to a peace meeting in Abuja with the aim of ensuring that they go into the election as a united political family.
“We need unity to work together, and we have been asked to sheathe our sword because none of the factions can do it alone,” he said.
However, in a statement made available to newsmen in Ilorin, the state capital, the AD said the council poll had been “arranged” to favour the APC.
The statement signed by Biliaminu Aliyu and Michael Ologunde, Chairman and Secretary of the party respectively, said: “We of the AD Kwara chapter will not take part because it is a time, energy and money wasting exercise.
APC Kwara and their master are desperate to win all the 16 local government areas, even without any election. They don’t want any opposition party like the AD because they will not allow them to continue exploiting and oppressing Kwarans.”
On its part, the Labour Party said while it will participate, the electoral body must give an undertaking to make the exercise credible and fair unlike previous exercises, it claimed were marred by irregularities. The party also berated KWASIEC for not having called a stakeholder’s meeting on the poll to discuss modalities for the exercise.
Secretary of the party, Comrade AbdulMumini Onagun, also noted that the announcement for the LG poll was belated; pointing out that ordinarily the elections should have been conducted a year ago.
His words: “KWASIEC should do the needful by inviting us to a roundtable meeting where we will discuss the modalities for the poll. We urge them to play the game the way it should be so that there would be a level playing ground for all political parties.
“In 2013, our party won in three local governments of the state, but instead of giving us the victory our candidates were mercilessly beaten up, we want to ensure we are safe before we go into the poll.”
Chairman of KWASIEC, Dr Usman Ajidagba, had last week announced the new date for the election, after series of postponements.
Ajidagba said the proclamation of the councils poll was in accordance with the power conferred on KWSIEC in the third schedule, part II of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended in 2011 particularly paragraph 4 of the schedule and section 20(1) of the Kwara State Local Government Electoral Law, Cap 32 law of the state 2006 as amended by section 20(1) of the Kwara State Local Government Electoral (Amended) Law, 2013.
He said all arrangements have been put in place to ensure a hitch-free election and assured stakeholders that the process would be transparent while necessary information about the conduct of the election would be released from time to time.