SHOCKER: CR Local Council Elections May Be Delayed Again

After suffering several postponements, it is looking very likely that the conduct of local council elections in Cross River State, scheduled for February 22, 2020, may be waylaid by legal technicalities that appear set to play out in court, has been informed.

A legal source in the state, who has elected to remain anonymous, is pointing to Governor Ben Ayade’s dissolution of all statutory boards and commissions as a visible snag. His argument appears to be hinged on the fact that Ayade’s pronouncement and broadcast of this broad dissolution of boards and commissions in the state through his Chief Press Secretary, Christian Ita, also invalidates the current composition of the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission, CROSIEC, which has since gone ahead to publish the LG council elections timetable.

“You cannot validate an election proposed to be conducted by a dissolved commission, surreptitiously returning. Government announced the dissolution of all boards and commissions and CROSIEC was one of such commissions. At what point was a new CROSIEC constituted and inaugurated? We have written and broadcast copies of the announcement of the dissolution and CROSIEC was not particularly exempted from the dissolution, but suddenly, members of CROSIEC have arisen from nowhere and are purportedly laying down instructions for local council elections; it is laughable. You see the near embarrassment we all suffered with government tampering with the composition of the CRS Judicial Service Commission and the appointment of the acting Chief Judge, the same scenario may play out again with the illegality of this CROSIEC’s conduct of local council polls”, we were told.

But another legal expert maintained that, “the unnecessary actions of government, with all due respect, are causing all of this adminstrative gaps. CROSIEC is a statutory commission that has a tenure written down by law. If it has to be dissolved, they are legal instruments to be employed. If those instruments are not employed, a verbal announcement, like it was done in CROSIEC’s case I am afraid has not dissolved CROSIEC, but I hope the law will adequately interpret this for us all.”

At press time, we learnt that legal heads are being put together to challenge CROSIEC, even though we were unable to ascertain when papers will be filed in court. However, the state electoral umpire is going ahead with preparations for polls we hope will hold.

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