A midterm election refers to a type of election where the people can elect their representatives in the middle of the term of the executive or of another set of members. This is usually used to describe elections to a governmental body (upper house, legislature, etc.) that are staggered so that the number of offices of that body would not be up for election at the same time. Only a fraction of a body’s seats are up for election while others are not until the terms of the next set of members are to expire. The legislators may have the same or longer fixed term of office than the executive, which facilitates an election mid-term of the tenure of the higher office.
In the United States, the president is elected every four years in indirect (Electoral College) presidential elections. The legislative bodies of the US are the Senate (who serve six year terms) and House of Representatives (2 year terms). The senate has 1/3 of its members up for election every two years while the House has all its membership up for election every two years. Regarding elections to the United States Congress, the point of reference is the president’s term.
In Africa the midterm election is not well practiced despite majority of the democratic nations’ claim of practicing the Federal system of government as the United State, only five countries of the continent have adopted midterm; amongst are Rwanda, Liberia, Kenya, The Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola. Coming home to Nigeria, midterm is yet to be thought of by any of the constitutionally empowered organs; however, Lagos as the pacesetter in all good dealings seem to be heading towards setting up a midterm election following her desire to conduct her local government elections in less than months after the midterm of Mr Akinwunmi Ambode.
The local government elections off course is as important as every other elections to fill the vacant positions of substantive Chairmen and Councilors to constitute the constitutionally approved third tier of government currently been managed by the Sole Administrators. However; the timing and events unfolding to the elections are raising many threating permutations if the ruling party; APC will survive the raging storms owing to the fact that the local government represents and are closer to the electorates which will spell doom for the party in the event it fails to win at least a majority of the 20 Local Government Areas and that of the 37 Local Council Development Authorities (LCDAs). The opposition might exploit on that to frustrate the efforts of the state government and the party at large.
Undoubtedly Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode has exceptionally done well in his midterm in office, which his supposed oppositions have attested to; though not without some challenges which basically hinge on security. Amongst are the current kidnapping of the six pupils of Epe Model School still in captivity for over 42 days running and the rampaging Badoo Occult group which has been maiming and killing residents of Ikorodu. Politically, the APC house seem to divided against itself coming from the process of selection/primaries for her candidates for LG elections which climaxed by the lynching of Senator Afikuyomi during the exercise and the High Court ruling in favour of the plaintiff in the Odi-Olowu LCDA nullifying the process as against the wish of the party which has led to accusation from the party leadership in Lagos to a highly placed member of the party and confirms that all is not well in the ruling party’s house.
Also, at the LGAs/LCDAs the State seem to fighting what may be termed a cold war with the Sole Administrators may be as a result of the embargo on some of them that indicated interest to contest for the chairmanship position; as activities in virtually all the LGAs/LCDAs have ground to almost a halt which might be as a result of the directives from the State not to embark on new projects so as to create a seamless transition for the incoming Chairmen which is evidenced by the sights of heaps of refuse, portholes and in general speaking lawlessness has shut to the roof.
With all these quagmires and with not much effort seen to address them, the governor might be setting himself up for a maiden midterm election in Nigeria which will ordinarily reposition our democracy geared toward optimum performance among the political office holders.
But like it is said, “one good turn deserves another”. Ambo…le kan si.