Ekiti LG Poll, A Perfect Blend of Political  Interests 

The much-awaited elections into  the 16 local government areas (LGAs) and 22 local Council Development Areas,LCDAs,may have come and gone but the lessons derivable from poll cannot be downplayed.
Though ,the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) secured a sweeping  victory at the polls, it would be instructive to look at the dynamics. Call it a vote for peace, unity, mainstreaming and stability, you are definitely not mistaken.
For instance , unlike the usual tradition, the  political re-engineering adopted by the Biodun Abayomi led administration ensured that all   interests of the various tendencies within and outside the party were factored in while the peoples’ interests were not also sacrificed.
The  emerging leaders at the grassroots were mixtures of foot soldiers , and allies and members of different  blocs  of the major  political gladiators in APC in particular and  Ekiti at large .
For the first time in the political history of Ekiti ,the poll engendered Gender Mainstreaming by ensuring that a greater  number of women were elected into government at the councils.
Ekiti, which has been at the forefront of women activism and gender mainstreaming  secured a record 56 women elected into various offices at the poll .Already the state is currently having a sitting female deputy governor,  speaker and Secretary to the Government.
The Ekiti State Independent Electoral Commission( EKSIEC) while announcing the results said the ruling  All Progressives Congress APC  won  the 38 Chairmanship and 177 Councillorship seats in the poll .
The election produced  seven  new female  Council Chairpersons , 16  female vice chairpersons and a remarkable 33 female councillors.
The  Returning Officers in all the Local Government Areas LGAs and Local Council Development Areas LCDAs took turns to present the results of the various council areas.
Addressing the gathering, EKSIEC Chairman, Justice Cornelius Akintayo rtd applauded Ekiti people  for the peaceful atmosphere under which the election was conducted.
He also commended the parties that took part in the election for their sportsmanship spirit as well as the staff who worked on the field, the security agents and the media for a job well done.
EKSIEC Commissioners and principal officers, joined their Chairman at the presentation of the election results.
Political parties on the ballot of the election include, Action Alliance AA, Action Democratic Party ADC, African Democratic party Party ADP, All Progressives Congress APC. Labour Party LP, New Nigeria People’s Party NNPP, People’s Redemption Party PRP and Zenith Labour Party ZLP.
Governor Oyebanji commended voters and the umpire, SIEC, for the peaceful polls.
The governor expressed  delight that the people at the grassroots were able to choose their representatives at local government and the 177 wards without fear or threat or any form of crisis.
According to him  a  remarkable development in today’s local government election was the unprecedented huge number of female candidates vying for various positions.
But the highest was in the councillorship position. A remarkable 33 female candidates were in the ballot.The development, according to Governor Oyebanji, is very heart-warming, adding that  the development speaks to the fact  that democracy is taking a firm root in Ekiti State.
Commenting on the peaceful nature of the poll ,the  deputy governor, Chief Mrs Monisade Afuye said the conduct  by the EKSIEC  portrays radical and remarkable development  and signaled loud testimonies of tremendous improvement on that of 2021 poll.
Mrs Afuye ,who  gave the submission while casting her vote at unit 003,Atiba/AafinWard in Ikere Ekiti. commended the voters in her local government of origin,Ikere local government area , where she voted , while also applauded voters across the state for demonstrating what she described  as demonstrating confidence and trust  in the electoral process, by their impressive participation in the LG polls.
 According to her ,”Going by what we have seen and information across the state, the process has been adjudged peaceful and transparent.
“The SIEC officials and observers  were on ground in time and that further propelled the voters to come out to cast their votes for their preferred candidates. This is highly commendable.
“The atmosphere was serene and voters were not being coerced to vote for a particular candidate. They are given the freedom to vote for candidates of their choices; that is the beauty of democracy.
Again, the peaceful nature of the poll was not only a pointer to  the popularity of party in power but the acceptability of the governor. Aside this ,it was probably the first time in recent time that elections would be held without the incidences of violence ,brigandage or killing.
Meanwhile, governor  Oyebanji, has warned the new council leaders that his administration won’t won’t tolerate financial recklessness and ineptitude that could derail development in the councils.
Speaking his deputy, governor Oyebanji posited that the incoming administration across the 16 statutory councils and Local Council Development Areas, must be ready to surpass the tempo of radical development being fostered by the current occupants of the seats.
Oyebanji  stated that councils in Ekiti are now executing  projects in education, health, human capital development and agriculture sectors, leveraging on financial independence being enjoyed.
“Let me assure you that the incoming council bosses that will soon assume their respective  offices in all our council areas will be made to sustain the tempo of development already ushered in by the present occupants of the seats.
“This government won’t allow any laxity that can derail the focus to make our local governments more functional in Ekiti. I congratulate those who were elected in the just concluded election for their victories. God will help them to succeed”.
He stated further that his belief that the councils, being the closest tier of government to the masses and rural dwellers must be made functional through  financial autonomy remains unshaken.
Oyebanji was emphatic that  his administration, had again demonstrated enormous respect for independence of the legislative and judicial arms, for democracy to flourish and for the smooth running of government.
“Recently, Governor Oyebanji commissioned the newly built Customary Court of Appeal in Ado Ekiti to show respect to the judiciary as an independent arm of government, the same mutual respect was being extended to the legislative arm”.
Espousing the tremendous relevance and significance of the projects, Oyebanji, commended the council boss for being focused and selfless to deliver the best to the people, disclosing that he has etched his name in the hearts of the residents of the area.
“I am of the humble opinion that the 1.2 kilometres Ita Iyana- Itamesi road and the 245 metres length Irayo road project, will contribute to smooth transportation and ease of doing business in this local government.
“Road project is one of the cardinal areas where Governor Biodun Oyebanji is making huge exploits to make lives more rewarding and easier for the masses. This will also stem the tide of insecurity because criminals often hide under deplorable  road to unleash terror on the people.
“Let me also appreciate your efforts in the area of human capital development and social services, with the construction of a befitting health centre that will reduce child and maternal mortality as well as contribute substantially to increase in the life expectancy of our people. Health they say is wealth.
“I know that new legislative building that will be commissioned today will foster  strong and mutual relationship between the executive and legislature in this council for more delivery of democracy gains to our people’.
The Chairman of the Council, Engr Olabode Adetunji, commended Governor Oyebanji for allowing the councils unfettered access to their funds, saying this has gone a mileage in helping his colleagues to deliver on their campaign promises.
The LG boss said the Comprehensive Health Centre would expand accessibility to quality healthcare and curtail untimely deaths through prompt  treatments of diseases like diabetes, hypertension, malaria and other killer illnesses.
Besides the projects commissioned, Adetunji revealed that his administration, had distributed 10,000 of gmelina and  palm seedlings to farmers, employed 30 educated citizens, graded 24.2km farm and township  roads , and sank boreholes to supply potable water .
The Council boss stated that his administration, has constructed concrete roads and retaining walls in some strategic areas to tame the recurrent cases of ecological crisis being confronted by the the hilly town.
YAQOUB POPOOLA is a journalist and  Public Affairs Commentator

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