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  • News - North Central - FCT
  • Updated: May 28, 2024

Governors told to stop conducting LG polls

Governors told to stop conducting LG polls

The President of the Ijaw National Congress, INC, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, has called for state governments to cease conducting local government elections to enhance their credibility.

Speaking on Monday in Abuja during a discussion on "Nigeria Security Challenges and Good Governance at the Local Level," Okaba emphasized the need for state governments to step back from organizing local elections to foster broader participation and ensure fairer processes.

The event, held in collaboration with the UK International Development, was organized by the House of Representatives.

Okaba urged citizens residing in various local government areas to actively demand good governance from their local authorities as a fundamental right.

He also advocated for the amendment of the 1999 constitution to promote effective local government administration, including the abolition of joint state and local government accounts.

Highlighting examples from other countries, Okaba noted that Uganda and Ghana had amended their constitutions to reintroduce a multi-party system with provisions for the effective functioning of local governments.

“In Uganda for instance, the re-emergence of local government after years of centralised administration was a product of both internal and external forces.

“So, state governors and Houses of Assembly should allow local government autonomy to scale through the constitutional amendment process,” he said.

The INC president stressed that good governance wasone of the cardinal principles of credible elections.

“Indeed, once credible elections are guaranteed at the local government level, the foundation for good governance would have been laid, paving the way for peace and security.

“In Nigeria today, especially at the local government level, credible elections appear to be an illusion,” he said.

He noted that Section 7(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) guarantees the existence of local government in Nigeria but the same constitution hinders the autonomy of the local government.

On national security, Okaba said that the security architecture in Nigeria was constitutionally driven.

“The federal government controls all the instrumentality of government (the armed forces and paramilitary) to secure the lives and property of its citizens.

“Also the government at all levels is placed with the constitutional responsibility of providing security and welfare for its people.

“But in the face of this duty placed on the Nigerian government, the nation has in the recent past experienced an alarming rate of insecurity.

“Ethno-religious conflicts, violence, kidnapping, terrorism among others are some of the dimensions of insecurity in the country. Insecurity has taken different dimensions in the various regions in Nigeria,” he said.

He, therefore, canvassed for local governments to have a bit of control on local policing for effective security across the country.

He also noted that what happened in pre-colonial Nigeria indicated that an effective local government system could address the challenges of insecurity and good governance in the country.

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