Ogun State Government has identified economic crisis which has affected the whole nation, and by extension affected the Internally Generated Revenues of the State as one of the factors delaying the conduct of local government election in the State.
Other factors, according to the government, included the security challenges across the country, a share of which the state has had in recent part, and shopping for credible candidates to man the State Independent Electoral Commission.
Pastor Remmy Hassan, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor Dapo Abiodun on public communications, said this during an exclusive interview with newsmen.
The SSA said Ogun State was not immuned from the national economic crisis as the revenue of the state was also affected, adding that things are now beginning to take shape.
During the crisis, Hassan reminded, the state started the payment of minimum wage which also put more pressure on the finances of the State.
According to him, the state government will not set up the SIEC without adequate funding to run its affairs.
The former Deputy Speaker of Ogun State House of Assembly further hinted that security challenges across the country is overwhelming not to have brought to the table issues of election that will come with other security issues.
While expressing Governor Abiodun’s readiness and commitment to the conduct of the election, the spokesperson to the Governor, maintained that the Governor was already shopping for individuals without political colouration to man the electoral committee.
He said, “Things are gradually coming up plus the facts that in the midst of that economic crisis was when we began payment of minimum wage and aside from that too, we all want the entire narrative to be such that would engender the king of conversation that would midwife a good local government election.
“When there are issues that are still in the front burner for the nation at this time, if you bring in elections, issues of elections themselves creates security concerns, you’re adding more to the challenges you have on your hands.
“Without giving any excuse on why a democratically local government elected council is preferred to an appointed ones, we need to get it right so that we won’t have reasons to put the wrong foot forward.
“And like is said, the Governor is committed to ensuring that a credible local government election is organised so that those who manage the local councils would be those that the people elect to represent them.
“The issue of funds is just one of the many challenges but gradually we are getting over them, once the SIEC is put in place, then we are good to go.”
On why the constitution of the SIEC is delayed, Hassan said, “The Governor is always shopping for the best material, Ogun State is blessed with a lot of human and materials resources but as much as we are so blessed we shouldn’t in anyway reflect any partisan coloration in those who will man the SIEC, so that you won’t begin to struggle to defend the pedigree of those so appointed.
“We are not in anyways experiencing any scarcity of such but the prerogative is that of the Governor and I am sure as soon as he get the right calibre of those who will dispassionately take up the responsibility, the announcement would be made and I am sure that would be any time soon.”
The government pleaded for more understanding and sacrifice from party members who are already agitated about the delay in the election, saying their agitation is valid and justifiable.
“They have every reason, basis and justification to be agitated because the issue of local government democratically elected council was part of the talking points of the campaign of Governor Dapo Abiodun and everybody expect that should have been done. And that kind is agitation is a reminder to the fact that that we should show a lot of commitment to those things we promised and we have not in anyway deviated.
“But not to allow vacuum to be created at that level, that is why you see that reluctantly granted extension, because we thought by now, we should have come pass this stage, but of cause, we know what greeted the new year in Nigeria, a lot of security concerns and you can not be faced with such security challenges and still bring in another matter which is on its own is a major a accelerant to security especially when it has to do with the way and manner and mentality with which the Nigeria spaces handles issue of an election.
“Let me appeal to those who have valid reasons to be agitated to be a little patient because we will definitely go past this state and the issue of local government election will be a thing of the past.
“It is better to delay in doing it and getting it right ultimately that doing a soddy job and at the end of the day, it still didn’t end well, they have been patient and we appreciate their patience, a little more patience will not be too much a sacrifice and that is what we appeal.