LASIEC restates commitment to credible elections

The Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), has reiterated its commitment to the conduct of credible, free and fair elections in the State, stressing that it is an impartial election management body consciously putting in place all the required machinery to achieve orderly elections.

The Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), has reiterated its commitment to the conduct of credible, free and fair elections in the State, stressing that it is an impartial election management body consciously putting in place all the required machinery to achieve orderly elections.

LASIEC Redesigns Website in preparation for LG poll - P.M. News
Chairman, LASIEC, Justice Ayotunde Phillips

Chairman, LASIEC, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, who made this disclosure at a three-day pre-election retreat organised for staffers at Ikeja, said the Commission will continue to build and sustain its integrity as an impartial body recognised for excellence in electoral administration and the sustenance of democracy.

The LASIEC boss said “the retreat, with the theme Electoral Integrity and Administration of Local Council Election, is essentially to review and evaluate our state of preparedness for the forthcoming Local Government elections, as the tenure of the elected Council officials in the State is gradually coming to an end”.

Speaking further, the Chairman disclosed that the retreat would be in two batches, noting that the current batch comprises of the top echelon of the Commission, while the second batch would have in attendance other senior staff.

This, she said, is to ensure that the Commission’s officials are in tune with the modern realities of election administration and conduct.

While emphasising LAISEC’s readiness for the election, Justice Phillips, said that the Commission has inspected and ascertained the functionality of its offices in each Local Government Council, stressing that those below expectation are urgently receiving attention.

She further disclosed that the Commission has also invested in staff training and election observation missions both at local and international level.

“Similarly, we are exploring a new approach to ensure the health and safety of voters and election personnel during the poll in line with the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic”, she noted.

Justice Phillips also disclosed that non-sensitive materials have already been dispatched to remote areas with difficult terrains for logistic purposes, adding that the Commission’s new uncluttered and user-friendly website will soon be unveiled to further boost communication between the Commission and its various publics.

While assuring that LAISEC will continue to build and sustain its integrity as an impartial body, Justice Phillips urged Lagosians to perform their civic rights during the Local Government election.

A facilitator, Mr. Sina Odugbemi, who spoke on “Voter Apathy: Evaluation of the roles of stakeholders”, opined that for a democratic system to function effectively all stakeholders must actively participate and collaborate in the electoral process.

He submitted that all stakeholders have constitutional, statutory, political and moral responsibility to drive the democratic process, which is why all of them must be carried along at all times to enhance full participation and bring about more credibility to the electoral process.

In the same vein, one of the facilitators, a retired Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy, Mrs. Toro Oladapo, attributed lack of trust in the system as one of the reasons for voters’ apathy.

While stating that the retreat will help in building the capacity of electoral officials, Oladapo urged the Commission to deploy all available media, especially the social media, to reach out to the voting public and also monitor how its activities are being reported,

Earlier, the Lead Facilitator and a former LASIEC Permanent Secretary, Mr. Adeyinka Jeje, urged the government to consider e-election as a tool in the electoral process.

Jeje noted that e-election would help reduce human interaction and encourage inclusive participation in the electoral process.

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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.