To chart a robust path towards unity and community development , the Lagos Branch of Ozubulu Development Union(ODU)will tomorrow elect new officers to pilot its affairs for the next three years.
The election scheduled to begin at 1pm, will hold at the Ozubulu Civic Center , III Road, Festac Town, Lagos.
Speaking in an interview yesterday with newwavereporters.com, this year’s ODU’s Election Committee Chairman, Agbalanze Rapheal Commanda Chukwuneke, said that everything had been put in place to ensure a hitch-free and credible election for the Lagos residents of the Anambra State community .
He further disclosed that a near fool proof arrangement had been perfected to ensure an orderly , violence and rancour free election that would stand the test of time.
Agbalanze Chukwuneke added that there were nine key elective positions to be vied for, disclosing that the slots include those of Chairman (two contestants), the Vice Chairman(one ),General Secretary(one), Assistant General Secretary(one), Financial Secretary(two contestants)
Others are the positions of Treasurer (one ),Social Secretary(vacant), Assistant Social Secretary(one) and Assistant Provost(one)
On the modalities for the election, Chukwuneke said;”Before voting starts, there will be accreditation of would-be voters, as they will be screened to ensure that they are eligible to cast their votes. There will be a voters’ register ,and before anyone is allowed into the voting arena, he or she must present a valid Identity card. Moreover, such voters must be up to date financial members of the ODU. Also every contestant is mandated to appoint two agents who will be his/ her watch dog not only during the election, but until the results are declared.”
He continued: ”Aside those measures, the Election Committee which comprises five members, including the chairman, has planned the voting process to conform with the Lagos State Covid -19 protocol guidelines. We have therefore, streamlined the number of eligible voters to 417, in line with the dictates of the our constitution. And to further ensure better crowd management, we have agreed to mount four big canopies at different points within the vicinity, that will accommodate only 50 persons each. Also, there will be another canopy that will be for would- be accredited voters, to move from there to cast their votes. The number of voters won’t exceed 10 persons on a roll. You don’t need to be told that wearing of face masks at the election venue is mandatory, provions has been made for hand washing and hand sanitizers. All these measures are being put in place to avoid flouting the Lagos State Covid-19 regulations.”
On why there are only two slots to be contested for- Chairman and the Financial Secretary- the election committee chief told newwavereporters.com team that, contesting for elective positions in the ODU was not automatic, adding that two major criteria determine one’s eligibility.
He added that such conditions include members interest to contest for elective posts, and the issue of disqualification of interested contestants. He further disclosed that two contestants were disqualified for not meeting up with the conditions for vying for any post.
Chukwuneke added that for anybody to contest any elective position in the ODU, such an individual must not be an ex-convict or one who had defrauded the Union, adding that the aspirant must also be a full fledged financial member and not one indebted to the Union.
He said that the parent town union, Ozubulu Development Union(ODU) National still has an input in who contests for elections in the various branches of the Union. He stated that one of the contestants was disqualified as a result of petition emanating from the National body of the Union.
On the functions of the election committee, Chukwuneke said that this year, a more formal approach was adopted, by appointing his committee to screen candidates for the election, as well as conduct the polls in line with the Union’s reviewed constitution.
He said that what was obtainable formerly was an adhoc arrangement whereby on the day of the election, a few persons were handpicked to supervise voting process and all that.
On the selection and disqualification processes which may be fraught with possible irregularities and abuses, the election panel boss agreed that there was the need to further amend the Union’s constitution to include an appeal panel whereby disqualified persons could access to seek redress.
He added: “I feel there is need to make provision for an appeal panel where aggrieved persons will go to seek redress when they sense injustice either in the selection or disqualification process. Today, the five member Election Committee is selected by the incumbent executive, though guarded by certain rules, yet there is still need to expand the scope to allow for more credibility and confidence in the whole process.”