By Richard Elesho/ Lokoja
Aside the grave economic situation that has sparked protests across the country, the issue of Local Government elections is perhaps upper most in the mind of Kogi people. Machinery for the poll have been set in motion with the constitution of Kogi State Independent Electoral Commission, KOSIEC under the chairmanship of Mamman Eri.
The electoral body has since fixed the election for Saturday, 12th December. After foot-dragging and raising concerns on the integrity of the polls, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and other opposition parties eventually agreed to participate in the important exercise.
For one, the state has not conducted LG polls since the Governor Yahaya Bello led All Progressives Congress, APC government came to power January 2016. The third tier of government has since been run first by Administrators and later Senior Special Assistants, SSAs to the Governor on Security in each LG. They were all appointed by the Governor. Indeed, the last time LG elections were conducted in the State was in March 2013 under former Governor, Capt. Idris Wada.
Anyway, the opposition parties, notably PDP and the Natasha Akpoti led Social Democratic Party, SDP did not relent in calling for the polls. But when government gave the nod, fearing that the process may not be free and fair, the opposition hesitated before throwing their hats into the ring.
Thus far, KOSIEC has followed the timeline for the polls. Parties have conducted primary elections and filed in names of their candidates.
The electoral body has also indicated that the APC, PDP and SDP are among 21 political parties that will participate in the election.
Similarly, the KOSIEC says campaigns for the elections are to begin from Nov. 4 to Dec. 10. The Commissioner in charge of Media and Publicity, Mr Yakubu Chogudo, stated this in Lokoja last weekend.
KOSIEC urged political parties to submit their campaign schedules showing dates, places and venues to aid proper monitoring by the commission.
As the elections for Councilors and Chairmen in the council areas draw close, the people are patiently waiting and hoping it will be an opportunity to truly elect and not select or impose leaders at the third tier of government.