Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Wednesday swore-in the Chairman and members of the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), just as he charged them to live above board and be fair to all parties in the discharge of their duties.
Governor Ambode, who spoke during the swearing-in ceremony at the Lagos House, Ikeja, said the new Chairman, Justice Ayotunde Philips (Rtd) and other members of the Commission were carefully selected based on their track record of meritorious service and unquestionable integrity, hence they must be transparent and fair to all without giving undue advantage to one party over another.
The Governor said his administration places high premium on the Rule of Law, just as he vowed that the Executive arm of government would not do anything to directly or indirectly interfere in the affairs of the Commission.
He said LASIEC, as the statutory body saddled with the responsibility of conducting Local Government elections, has a critical role to play in entrenching the democratic process in the State, and therefore the newly sworn-in members must go all out to ensure the credibility of the electoral process.
He said: "We have painstakingly selected people of unquestionable integrity and track record of competence to guarantee a credible, transparent and accountable process. Leading this team is Hon Justice Ayotunde Philips, a retired Chief Judge of Lagos State who left a record of meritorious service that saw her to the pinnacle of the Lagos State Judiciary.
"All I just want to say to all the members is that they must live above board and truly live up to the public expectation as independent umpires. You must be transparent and fair to all without giving undue advantage to one party over another. This is only way that you can guarantee the credibility of the process you supervise," the Governor said.
Besides, Governor Ambode thanked members of the Lagos State House of Assembly for their due diligence and subsequent confirmation of the Chairman and members of the Commission, as well as the timely passage of the amendment to the LASIEC Law.
Members of the Commission are Justice Philips (Chairman), Dr. Bunmi Omosehindemi, Mr. Lateef Raji, Mrs. Toyin Famakinwa and Mr. Olusegun Ayedun, with Mr. Olumide Lawal as the Permanent Secretary.
Responding, Justice Philips thanked Governor Ambode for the confidence reposed in her and other members, and assured that they would do all within their powers to ensure credible, free and fair elections.
She also said that her tenure would witness the transformation of LASIEC to an institution that would be envied and emulated by other States of the Federation.
"I believe in action more than in words and people would see as time passes that we will try to do our best and I hope that we will make LASIEC an institution for all the other states to follow. Lagos always leads and the judiciary in Lagos has led others in Nigeria and we intend to bring the same to bear on LASIEC to become an institution that the rest of the country will envy and will seek to emulate," she said.
She added that her team will go back to the drawing board and critically appraise the situation on ground, while an election date would thereafter be determined in due course.