The Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, has urged State Houses of Assembly to save the Local Government Area system in Nigeria from imminent collapse through its instrument of law making.
The speaker made the appeal at the opening of a one-day round-table with Speakers of State Houses of Assembly in Lagos yesterday.
Declaring the round-table open, Gbajabiamila, represented by Mr Idris Wase, the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, said a revitalised local government system would bring about effective governance.
He said that for a more robust 9th Aassembly, there was need for State Houses of Assembly to invest in knowledge acquisition by running short and long term courses in areas such as budget implementation and related programmes so that through oversight engagements, they could insist on real value for money on contracts awarded for the well-being of citizens in whose mandate they stood.
Gbajabiamila disclosed that the National Assembly would commence its process on the work of its constitutional review committee.
“In that process, there will be need for synergy between the NASS and State Houses of Assembly.
“There is need for caution. The caution lies in our collective efforts to ensure that the work of lawmakers, be it in state or national, do not suffer any infringement.
“We must not only be seen to be working but work in a way that our work will speak for us. Of particular note is the need to point out the sanctity of the National Assembly do not suffer any infringement,” Gbajabiamila said.
He commended the organisers of the round-table, saying the timing was apt given that the 9th National Assembly was just concluding it’s preparation for proper take off in its four years duration.
In a goodwill message, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislators of Nigeria, urged relevant stakeholders to intensify efforts toward implementation of the constitutional provision of financial autonomy to state legislature and judiciary with a view to strengthening democracy.
“It is well over a year that President Muhammadu Buhari gave assent to financial autonomy for both state legislature and judiciary in the last constitution review,” the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly said.
Obasa, represented by Mr Abel Peter Dia, Taraba Speaker, urged the lawmakers to be active participants in the round-table.
Also, the Oyo State Speaker, Mr Adebola Ogundoyin, said the lawmakers as democrats want the laws implemented which was part of the reasons for the round-table.
“There are a lot of local government areas issues. We intend to resolve them once and for all and all arms of government.must sit to agree on the implementation,” he said.
Earlier in his address of welcome, the Director of National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, organisers of the round-table, said the conference was the first since the 2019 election.
He said the lawmakers had enormous responsibilities to the Nigerian people in the spheres of ensuring good governance, providing a forum for grassroots representation and oversights.
IPAC Wants Electoral Reform Conference On LG System
She Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC) has called for national electoral reform conference to review the administration of local governments in Nigeria.
IPAC President, Peter Ameh, made the call at a news conference after the National Executive 9th inaugural meeting of the council last Wednesday in Abuja.
Ameh said that there was urgent review of laws establishing the local government administration to enable it serve the interest of Nigerians.
He called for the review of Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution to guarantee the existence, establishment, structure, composition, finance, functions and tenure of local governments.
“Section 162(5)-(7) of the Constitution should be amended to abolish the joint state/local government account.
He advised any state governor who felt aggrieved or more interested in local government funds to resign and contest as chairman, saying “he or she should be rest assured of our support.
“Section 162(5)-(7) of the Constitution should be further amended to provide that any amount standing to the credit of the local government councils in the Federation Account should be paid directly to the various local governments.”
Ameh said that the local government system had been hijacked by state governors and its current law no longer serve the interest of Nigerians.
He said that the constitutional responsibility of elected councilors to make bye laws for the good governance and development at the grassroots had been greatly eroded by the excessive interference by governors.
“We have 774 local governments and more than 3,000 councilors in Nigeria and having these large administrative network not applied optimally for the benefit of the Nigerian people is a major setback in our democracy.
“The current law as regards the administration of our local government system no longer serve the interest of the Nigerian people.
“This must be urgently reviewed to save and promote effective local council system as expected in a proper democratic presidential system.”
Ameh said that IPAC would support all efforts as well as work with the National Assembly for necessary constitutional amendments that would grant full financial and electoral autonomy to Local Government LG system and administration.
He attributed the inability or failure of the local councils to bring about grassroots development to lack of local government election in Nigeria.
Ameh also called for the review of Sections 153, 197 and the Third Schedule to the Constitution to re-design and re-order State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs).
He described SIECs as the “greatest democratic fraud” foisted on Nigeria’s electoral democracy.
He said that from the conduct of state elections by SIECs so far, it was impossible to get a free, fair and credible election under the existing arrangement.
“The current system encourages massive rigging because SIECs are under the wills and caprices of the state governments and the political party in power in each state.
“Hence the call that the responsibility of conducting local government elections be given to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)”, he said.
He said that if local authorities had autonomy and tenure guaranteed, it would be easy for people to hold them accountable.
Bayelsa PDP Guber Candidate Harps On Sports Dev
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate in Bayelsa State, Sen. Douye Diri, has promised to pay more attention to sporting activities in the state; if elected governor come November 16.
He made the promise last Wednesday during an interactive session with journalists in Yenagoa.
He recalled that when he was the Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development Bayelsa State was always at the top in sporting activities.
“In my time as the Commissioner, Bayelsa United, Ocean Boys of Brass, Bayelsa Queens, were on top, even in wrestling and other sporting activities.
“If elected as the Bayelsa Governor, one of the key areas that I will pay more attention is sports.
“This is because Bayelsa has all it takes to bounce back in the arena of sports of all kinds.
“My government will ensure that we build sporting facilities in all the local government areas of Bayelsa, with a view to recovering young talents in the rural areas.
“As you know, exercise is very good for the body, and it keeps you fit, strong and healthy so, sports is good for body building,” he said.
The governorship candidate assured that he would consolidate on the restoration government of Governor Seriake Dickson, to move the state forward.
The Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa Council, Mr Samuel Numonengi, tasked journalists to avoid biased reports that would tarnish the name of the council.
Diri is the serving Senator representing Bayelsa Central Senatorial District, comprising Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Yenagoa and Kolokuma/Opokuma in the National Assembly.
Dickson Sacks Aide Over Gross Misconduct, Indiscipline
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has sacked Mrs Hellen Bob, his Special Adviser on Talents and Gender Development over alleged misconduct and indiscipline.
The special adviser’s sack was announced in a statement by Mr Fidelis Soriwei, Chief Press Secretary to the governor last Thursday in Yenagoa.
The statement said Bob was relieved of her duties for gross misconduct, indiscipline and irresponsibility.
“Mrs Helen Bob was dismissed for repeated acts of gross misconduct, indiscipline, irresponsibility and acts unbecoming of a person occupying the position of special adviser.
“Mrs. Bob was among 130 special advisers engaged by the governor to render necessary services to the state and to give a sense of belonging and legitimate support to party members,” the statement read in parts.
Meanwhile some analysts have attributed Bob’s sack to her divergent views concerning the outcome of the recently concluded Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primaries in the state.
Reacting to her sack, Bob said she was not surprised at the development and thanked the governor for giving her the opportunity to serve in the state government.
“I am happy to have stood for the truth, frankly speaking, I am a woman of truth and will always stand by it.
“Governor Seriake Dickson has done very well not to have ignored my comments which of course I know must have touched his heart.
“And the gods of the land will be so proud of a true Izon daughter, truth is very very bitter, this is not a surprise at all,” she said.
She however stated that her sack came belatedly because she was already out to speak against the mismanagement of PDP in Bayelsa State.
“Sincerely it is already late, no amount of sack will stop me from stating the truth, no amount of sack will stop the flood that is about to submerge the PDP if it fails to redress the issues raised,” she said.
Bob was a former Chairman of Brass Local Government Area of the state.
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