…As DESIEC Interfaces With State Party Leaders
By Miracle Enuji
The Delta State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has expressed its displeasure with the appointment of Light Oritseweyinmi Diden, wife of the Honourable Member Representing Warri North Constituency in the State Assembly, Hon. Dcn. Michael Diden (Ejele), as member of the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC).
This concern was echoed by an APC leader, Barr. Nelson at an enlarged meeting between DSIEC members and Leaders of Political Parties in Delta State, averred that Mrs Diden’s status as the spouse of a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker would compromise the Independence of the electoral body.
Expressing the worries of the party, the legal practitioner said, “One of you is Mrs Diden and Diden is a political heavyweight, a political bulldozer in Delta State, we wonder how the wife will not be bias”
The DSIEC chairman Chief Barr. Mike Ogbodu declined comments on the issue raised by the APC leader. He however reiterated the commission’s commitment to ensuring total independence and transparency in the electoral process. In his words, “If you listened to my acceptance speech, you will know as Deltans that the Independence of this Commission is in process and I can assure you not to have any doubt. You all will be given a level playing ground in the field. All you need to do is to go to the electorate, sell your manifesto to them and convince them. You should not have any fear as to whether somebody is coming to influence the votes.”
While lending his voice to that of other party leaders in congratulating the new DSIEC Board, the State Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Obi Nzeteh took it upon himself to respond to Barr. Nelson’s question, who are both from same local government, saying that, “I want to debunk the insinuation. Once one is not ready for an election, he begins to suspect members of the DSIEC. Mrs Diden is a Deltan and the governor reserves the right to appoint whosoever he feels that handle offices in this State to Deltans, irrespective from where you come from. And so if he is afraid, we would advise him to do proper home work because for now, votes are counting. Gone are the days when you go hijack ballot boxes to your house, how does it count? So my friend, I do not want to be personal in electoral issues because tomorrow is great and that is why we should go home and do our proper work for proper winning of elections”
Earlier in his remarks DSIEC Chairman, Chief Mike Ogbodu said that the commission called for the meeting to unveil its noble plans that will usher in the various processes that are meant to unfold the commission’s electoral calendar to the leadership of the various political parties in the state.
“In the need to actively participate in electing credible candidates of their choice to fill various Chairmanship and Councillorship positions, that are expected to be vacant on 27th October, 2017 when the tenure of the current elected officials at the councils will elapse. It is in view of this singular fact that the commission has put necessary machinery in place geared towards the successful conduct of the proposed Local Government Council General Elections, 2018.”
“To this end, we have commenced the various activities including the acquisition of the current register of voters from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), perfected arrangements for procurement and purchase of sensitive and non-sensitive electoral materials among others”, Ogbodu added.
Chief Ogbodu, a retired Commissioner of Police further added that the commission in their meeting decided that the Local Government Election in the State will hold on Saturday, 6 January, 2018 in compliance with the current DESIEC law of 2017 recently passed by the State House of Assembly. He assured that during his tenure, he will continue to seek the cooperation of the various Political Parties on matters that are germane to the success of LGA elections and promised to provide a level playing field for all.