By Yemi Adeleye
Lagos – Some Lagos lawmakers on Thursday said President Muhammadu Buhari’s integrity would not allow him influence or gag the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the conduct of 2019 general elections.
The lawmakers spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at their respective Constituency Stakeholders’ Meetings, organised by the Lagos Assembly simultaneously across the 40 constituencies.
The theme of the fourth edition of the meeting was: “Towards a Peaceful and Credible Election”.
The assemblymen also appealed to the National Assembly to act swiftly on INEC’s budget, to foster the conduct of credible and acceptable elections in 2019.
In his constituency, Mr Lanre Ogunyemi, member, representing Ojo Constituency II at the Lagos State House of Assembly, told NAN that the President got to power due to his integrity and would not do anything to dent his image.
Ogunyemi, who noted that Buhari remained a man of integrity, said the President would not influence INEC or the outcome of the general elections.
“The President we have came to office due to his integrity and popularity and the massive votes of Nigerians. He still has that integrity intact.
“I believe strongly that he is not the kind of person that will want to influence INEC or that will want to gag INEC to take over the control of INEC.
“This government is a government that believes in true democracy that allows participatory democracy and freedom of choice,” he said.
According to him, since the 2015 elections, the nation has been witnessing credible elections to a large extent and this must be built upon and sustained in 2019.
The lawmaker urged the Federal Government to give opportunity for INEC to be independent in the conduct of the election.
He said the delay in the passage of INEC’s budget for 2019 elections, could impede preparations and consequently the conduct of credible elections.
“I think the National Assembly should rise up to their responsibility and do what is right as early as possible, so that INEC can put its house together to conduct a seamless and successful election,” he said.
He said INEC needed funds for logistics, infrastructure and training of staff ahead of the elections, to ensure conduct of an election that would be acceptable, free and fair.
Also speaking, Mr Victor Akande, representing Ojo Constituency I at the Assembly, told NAN in his constituency stakeholders’ meeting that people should not associate President Buhari with undemocratic practices.
Akande, who expressed belief that the President would conduct a free and fair election that would be acceptable to all, urged the National Assembly to expedite action in the passage of 2019 elections’ budget.
He advised his constituents to eschew any action or speech that might fuel violence before, during and after the 2019 general elections.
“We need to have free and fair elections but peace is a precondition to achieve this. We should not heat up the polity,” he advised.
According to him, the main problem facing the constituency, as articulated by the people, is infrastructure.
Speaking at the Ojo Constituency II meeting, Oba Momodu Ashafa, the Onijanikin of Ijanikin Kingdom, who commended Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode’s achievements, called for more roads and better infrastructure for schools in the area.
“Gov. Ambode is very fantastic. He is working. We want him to continue, so that he can finish the good works he has been doing.
“However, in this area, our roads, especially the Lagos-Badagry expressway needs urgent attention. He should do all he can to see that the road is motorable,” he said.
Mrs Oluwakemi Ajagbawa, Assistant Woman Leader of APC in Oto Awori LCDA, highlighted the challenges facing the constituency to include poor road infrastructure, electricity and blocked canals.