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.
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A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George has urged federal government to relax the lockdown it imposed on Lagos State as a result of COVID- 19 pandemic.
George, who made the call in a statement in Lagos, yesterday said the lockdown imposed since March 29 was adversely affecting livelihoods and bringing up security challenges.
He said though government intended to curb the spread of the virus with the lockdown, the directive had left many Nigerians hungry at home without palliatives.
The PDP chieftain noted that there must be a balance between curbing the spread of the virus and protecting livelihoods and asked the government to relax the lockdown while putting safety measures in place.
“Everywhere in Lagos is now locked down. The markets, banking halls, the local grocery shops, the supermarkets, the transportation services are all halted, frozen by the federal government directives since March 29.
“On the surface level, the federal government’s position is to ensure safety, prevent communal spread of the virus and banish this scourge from our shores.
“Lagosians have been staying at home for about a month now. In a largely informal economy where most of our people depend on daily wages, the burden of lack of income is devastating.
“There is a natural growing anger in Lagos as the most vulnerable are ravaged with hunger,” George said.
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