The Bayelsa State Government says it is currently one of the few states in the country where other arms of government function independently including the local government system.
The State Deputy Governor, Chief Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, stated this when the National President of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Akeem Olatunji-Ambali, paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
Ewhrudjakpo said the clamour for financial autonomy for the local councils was in line with the principles of rule of law and separation of powers.
He said the state government had since given its approval of financial autonomy to the councils, and therefore, was not in any way tampering with their funds.
The deputy governor said that the government had recently resolved to increase its financial support to the councils with additional N252 million on a monthly basis.
He said that the move was necessitated by inadequate revenue allocations from the Federal Government and the implementation of promotion arrears of council workers by the state government.
Ewhrudjakpo noted that government had adopted the policy of Joint Tax System, describing it as a unified approach of generating revenue into the coffers of both state and local government councils in the state.
“We have not only exercised autonomy for our local government system here but also addressed several issues people are protesting for elsewhere.
“In Bayelsa, we have autonomy for the Judiciary arm since 2013 and the House of Assembly in 2019.
“Bayelsa is one state where we don’t tamper with local government funds. As the funds come, the chairmen meet with the state at the Joint Allocation Committee and what we do is to approve the JAC figures and they go back to dispense.
“Only recently, in addition to what we are giving to the local government for the payment of primary school teachers, we have just decided to give another N252 million as support to councils,” he said.
On the minimum wage for council workers, Ewhrudjakpo said the state government in consultation with council chairmen and state NULGE leadership, had set up a committee to look into its implementation.
The deputy governor, however, urged NULGE to take the issue of reforms in the local government system seriously with a view to addressing the excesses of some council chairmen and for the overall benefit of rural dwellers.
On the appeal for the completion of NULGE state headquarters, Ewhrudjakpo promised that the government would look into their request for appropriate action.
Earlier, the National President of NULGE, Olatunji-Ambali, said that his team was in the state in continuation of the union’s nationwide advocacy campaign for local government autonomy.
Olatunji-Ambali described local government as the most strategic, relevant and direct system of government that must be accorded its pride of place in the country to positively impact on the masses.
He also identified insecurity in the country as a challenge that could be addressed significantly, if the local government system that interfaced directly with the traditional rulers and rural people was strengthened.
While appreciating the state government for its support to the local government system, the NULGE helmsman appealed for the completion of the union’s secretariat in the state.
Kano Tribunal Judgment, Slap On Constitutionalism, Rule Of Law -NNPP
The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) has described the judgment of the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that nullified the election of Governor Abba Kabiru Yusuff as a slap in the face of constitutionalism and the rule of law.
In a signed statement made available to newsmen by its acting national chairman, Abba Kawu Ali, the NNPP said its candidate won convincingly in the March 18, 2023, election, which it described as free, credible, and globally acclaimed as a fair election.
He said the pronouncement of the 3-man tribunal is laughable and a pure miscarriage of justice, which is capable of eroding the confidence of the electorate in the judiciary.
He, however, called on the party’s supporters across Nigeria to remain calm as the party will appeal the tribunal’s judgement.
“The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) receives with utter incredulity and disbelief the judgment of the Kano State Election Petition Tribunal on the March 18, 2023, Governorship Election.
“The reported judgement nullified the free, credible, and globally acclaimed fair election of our gubernatorial candidate, Engr. Abba Kabiru Yusuf, and brazenly awarded the election to the APC candidate, Nasiru Gawuna.
“The Tribunal arrived at this unjust judgment by unfairly subtracting 165,663 votes from the governor’s tally to enable it to unfairly award the result to the candidate of the ruling APC.
“In doing so, the tribunal obviously affirms its belief that the vote tally of the APC candidate was sacrosanct.
“The judgment of the 3-man Kano State Governorship Election Petition is laughable and nothing but a pure miscarriage of justice.
“The decision of the Tribunal is a slap in the face of constitutionalism and the rule of law and is capable of further discouraging the electorate from having confidence in the judiciary.
“The NNPP recalls with regret that this Tribunal has simply replayed the unholy script of 2019 by overturning the will of the people and awarding results to those who evidently lost the election.
“The NNPP will appeal this most unfair judgement.
We call on millions of our supporters in Kano and in the rest of the country to remain calm and maintain peace. A lopsided judgment cannot stand on the altar of justice”, he said.
Ondo Assembly Moves To Impeach Dep Gov
Indications emerged on Wednesday, that members of the Ondo State House of Assembly have commenced the process of impeaching the state Deputy Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
This is coming following an emergency plenary session summoned by the House of Assembly on Wednesday, with heavy presence of security men at the Assembly gate.
The Tide source gathered that at least 23 lawmakers have already appended their signatures, supporting the impeachment notice against Aiyedatiwa.
A source disclosed that the Deputy Governor is under investigation for alleged gross misuse of office and might be eased out of office through impeachment.
According to the source, trouble started when Aiyedatiwa reportedly approved the sum of N300 million for the purchase of a bulletproof SUV for his personal use.
The source said the approval was allegedly given while the state Governor was recuperating in Germany and it was approved without the knowledge of the governor.
He said the Deputy Governor further complicated matters when he ordered that the N300 million should be sourced from the Palliative fund.
He said “This fund, provided by the Federal government, was intended to support states in addressing the needs of their citizens.”
The source said the impeachment proceedings underscore the Assembly’s commitment to accountability, even at the highest levels of state governance.
Further developments in this case were being awaited as the situation continued to unfold.
Bauchi Tribunal Upholds Gov Mohammed’s Election
The Bauchi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has upheld the victory of Governor Bala Mohammed in the March 18, 2023 governorship election.
Delivering the judgment on Wednesday, Chairman of the three-man panel of the Tribunal, Justice P.T Kwahar, dismissed the petition of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakr (rtd), who challenged result of the election.
The tribunal held that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations of non-compliance with the Electoral Act, electoral irregularities as well as bypass of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (B-VAS) machines in some polling units of Toro, Dass, Zaki, Itas-Gadau, Alkaleri, Bauchi, Tafawa Balewa, Ningi, Dambam and Ganjuwa Local Government Areas.The Tribunal held that there was no tangible evidence to show that the BVAS was truly manipulated.The judge explained that the witnesses brought by the petitioner presented evidence based on hearsay as they were not present at the polling units, “they have failed to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the APC candidate won the election.”
“This court therefore returns the second respondent as the elected governor of Bauchi state by the first respondent in the conduct of the governorship election of the 18th of March, 2023,” he held.
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