29th September, 2010
The Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) has challenged any politicalÂ party that is not satisfied with the decision of the commission to create additionalÂ wards and polling units in the state to go to court.
Chairman of the commission, Justice Afolabi Abdul-Fatai Adeyinka (rtd), gave theÂ challenge while reacting to last Fridayâ€™s statement from the leadership of Peopleâ€™sÂ Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos, that the commission lacks the power to create wards andÂ polling units, insisted that LASIEC has the constitutional powers to do so.
The PDP, at a media briefing last Friday, criticised the decision by LASIEC to embark onÂ delineation of wards and creation of additional wards in Lagos State, saying it isÂ illegal.
The party insisted that LASIEC lacks the constitutional powers to do so and threatened toÂ drag the commission to court if it refuses to halt the exercise.
But the LASIEC boss, at a stakeholdersâ€™ forum at Somolu Local Government Area of theÂ state on Monday, maintained that Section 3 of Local Government Administration Law 1999Â empowers the commission to embark on the exercise.
â€œWe have the power to delineate wards and create additional polling units. Section 3 ofÂ Local Government Administration Law 1999 gives us the power to delineate wards and createÂ polling units,â€ he stated, adding that those who are threatening to go to court over theÂ issue have the legal right to do so.
According to him, the purpose of the exercise is to address the request from variousÂ communities in Lagos State for delineation of wards and creation of additional pollingÂ units.
â€œNew communities spring up in Lagos State as a result of rapid urbanisation have beenÂ denied effective and adequate representation. The locations of some wards are notÂ contiguous, it therefore follows that new wards may be created out of the existingÂ LGA/LCDAs while some councils may need more polling units,â€ he said.
The Chairman of Bariga Local Council Development Area, Akeem Sulaimon, who witnessed theÂ event, said the request for additional wards and polling units in his council isÂ justified with facts.
According to him, creating more polling units and delineation of wards would solve theÂ problem of voters walking long distances before they could cast their votes.
He disclosed that the council already has eight wards and is demanding for additional sixÂ as well as 81 additional polling units to make the number of polling units in the areaÂ 428.
The host council chairman, Gbolahan Bagostowe, expressed happiness over the conduct ofÂ the exercise, adding that the presence of all major stakeholders at the occasionÂ indicated that the people of the area were pursuing a just cause.