• Says failure is an impeachable offence
A group, United Action for Change (UAC), has vowed to embark on mobilisation of Nigerians to ensure that states of the federation that are yet to conduct elections into local governments do so without further delay, declaring that “failure to conduct local government election is an impeachable offence.”
The group gave the threat in Lagos through its co-ordinator, Barrister Ademola Adewale, who addressed a press conference attended by other members, including Comrade Adesina Adegbite, Comrade Popoola Ajayi, Hon. Ismail Yahaya, a former local government official; Engnr Soyebo, among others.
Adewale, who pointed out that appointment of caretaker committees or sole administrators to run the councils was an aberration, called on affected State Houses of Assembly to immediately commence impeachment proceedings against any governor who might be frustrating the democratic existence of council in the country.
“The United Action for Change shall not hesitate to embark on mobilisation of Nigerians for the full enforcement of these sacred stipulations of the Constitution,” the group coordinator vowed.
“We demand as follows: Immediate conduct of elections to fill the relevant offices of every local government council in every state where same is not yet done and the aberration of caretaker committee or sole administrator is allowed to dominate.
“Immediate commencement of impeachment proceedings by the House of Assembly against any governor who is frustrating the democratic existence of local councils in any state of the Federation,” Adewale added.
According to him, what the state Assembly has been called upon to do in respect of the affected state governors is in line with the provisions of the constitution which they have swore to “protect and enforce same to the beneficial development of Nigerians.”
“Where there is failure to observe the constitution as stated above by the House of Assembly members, we urge the constituents of every local government area to commence recall proceedings against any member who lends himself to this conscienceless violation of the constitution,” he demanded.
The group coordinator, while decrying what he termed “the dictatorial tendencies and dispositions of state governors who insist on democratic tenets only to protect their personal interests but launch concerted attacks on democracy at the grassroots,” maintained that elections must be periodically and mandatorily conducted into local government councils.
He contended that there was no place for the dissolution of local government councils by state governments or replacement of such with caretaker committees or sole administrators as had become the norm in most states of the Federation, pointing out that the Supreme Court had condemned the practice in the case of Eze vs Governor of Abia State in one of its judgments.
Speaking further, the UAC coordinator also noted that the issue of allocation of revenue to local governments was another avenue by which the state governments had been subverting the democratic existence of local governments, despite the emphasis by the 1999 Constitution that local governments were a democratic institution entitled to financial autonomy by the prescription of Section 162 (3).
Adewale said the provision had rather been observed in breach as state governments with the exception of Kaduna State government made deductions from allocations to the council under any guise.
“It is undemocratic as the local government councils are denied the capacity to bring any meaningful development to the council areas.
“Rather than making further allocation from the state total revenue to the local government councils as prescribed by the constitution, most states except for Kaduna State has been denying the local government councils of this constitutional revenue,” he lamented.