The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday presented Certificates of Return to the 40 members-elect of the Lagos State House of Assembly, who emerged victorious during the March house of assembly elections.
Speaking at the event at the INEC office in Yaba, Lagos, Mr Sam Olumekun, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, reminded the members-elect that the principal task ahead of them was that of making the lives of the people better.
“Distinguished members, we want to urge you that the principal task ahead of you is the improvement of the lives of Lagosians.
“Please, endeavour to enact very vibrant laws that will improve the lives of Lagosians. Of course, your past record is here; you have the tradition and you have been doing very well in the past. Lagos has always been excellent,” he said.
Olumekun said there was the need to celebrate 20 years of uninterrupted democracy, but bemoaned low voter turnout during the last election, which he described as ”very disturbing”.
“I want to urge you to mobilise not only your members, but even the entire electorate to come out and participate during the conduct of elections,” the INEC boss added.
He commended all stakeholders that contributed to the success of elections in the state, noting that the exercise that saw the lawmakers through were considered free, fair and credible.
The REC, however, said there were about 16 petitions filed in the election tribunal and the commission was ready to defend its conduct during the poll wherever necessary.
He said that the commission had cooperated with groups and individuals who requested for one thing or the other.
Speaking after collecting his certificate, Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, who will be returning for his fifth term, promised that the lawmakers would continue to do their best to ensure an orderly society and improve living conditions.
He also commended INEC and other critical stakeholders for their performance during the elections.
“This is my fifth time of coming to this place to collect certificate of return. We have listened to what you have said, we have heard that we should represent our constituency adequately, and show leadership.
“We are going to serve our people and the interest of our people, and we are going to represent them adequately.
“We are particularly concerned about the people, and we are not going to forget that in everything we do.
“We have the interest of our people, and that is the purpose we are going to the parliament to represent their interest,” the speaker said.
He said the assembly had done tremendously well, and the ninth assembly would not be different as the ear and mouth of the people.
On the cost of executing elections, Obasa said that the nation had to be more prudent by looking for a more convenient and less expensive process that would be acceptable and credible.
“I agree with you that we have done well in our last election; we must improve on what we have done.
“Everyone is important, no matter what the status is. So, we must learn from this election to improve on incoming elections,” Obasa said.
He said that Nigeria’s economic system demanded prudence, saying that the amount of money committed to the election was huge, while other sectors were begging for attention.
Obasa called for more acceptable, convenient, prudent, truthful and protective means, calling on the National Assembly to embark on necessary amendment that would be beneficial to the people.
He commended the National Leadership of APC, Sen. Bola Tinubu, Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) members and other stakeholders who contributed to ensure that the 40 seats were won by candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Speaking with NAN, Mr Setonji David, member-elect for Badagry Constituency II, who will be returning to the house, said he was excited and felt fulfilled to be given the second chance to represent the people.
David, who noted that INEC tried its best during the elections, said that people must also show interest in electoral processes to increase participation and deepen democracy.
Also, Mr Tunde Braimoh, member-elect for Kosofe Constituency II, who is also returning, told NAN that there was the need for INEC to improve on its conduct of elections.
Braimoh, who could not hide his joy for his reelection, thanked the leadership of APC and his constituents for the opportunity.
He promised to give his best, saying ”to whom much is given, from him much is expected”.
INEC had on March 29 presented Certificates of Return to the Lagos State Governor-elect, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat.