Sunday, July 19, 2009

Local Govt and denure reduction burden

Local govt and tenure reduction burden
By sJeff Nkwocha
Sunday, July 19, 2009
• Photo: Sun News Publishing
•More stories on this section

In a recent report, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Oyo State Chapter, threatened to protest to the state House of Assembly if the lawmakers went ahead with the plan to reduce the tenure of chairmen and councillors in the 33 local government areas from three to two years.

According to the state NANS president, Monsuru Adeyemo, the lawmakers’ plan was capable of causing confusion in the state.

The question is, what is the interest of the lawmakers in pursuing this line of action? What stops elected council administrators from enjoying four-year term like the president, governors and members of the national and state assemblies?
Political observers now understand that lawmakers do not project the interest of the people. Rather their stand on local government tenure is borne out of petty jealousy and retaliatory reactions.

For instance in Nasarawa State, it was on the eve of local government election, when the candidates of the governor sailed through against those nominated by the lawmakers that they went back to their chambers to reduce the tenure of local government to one year.

In the same vein, the current face-off between the House of Assembly and council chairmen in Oyo State might not be unconnected with some petitions allegedly written to the anti-graft agencies by the council bosses against the lawmakers. Some of the council chairmen were not happy with the way they were compelled to pay certain amount of money to lawmakers from their respective councils.

Are we degenerating into what a renowned philosopher, John Webster, said: “A politician imitates the devil, as the devil imitates cannon. Wheresoever he comes to do mischief, he comes with his backside towards you.” God forbid!

•Jeff Nkwocha
Local Government Study Network

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Otirhue and okpe LG Development

Otirhue and okpe LG Development
Hon. Joseph Otirhue, the Executive Chairman of Okpe Local government is revered by his people for his knack for development and his ability to carry the people along in his administration. Otirhue is one of the 25 council chairmen in Delta State who have completely aligned his developmental strides with the 3 points agenda of the state Government on people and security,human capital and infrastructural developments.

On assumption of office, he earmarked N25m to be given out as loan to indigenes of the area who are traders .This singular act has not only empowered the people but it has also beef up the socio-economic life of the council Area.

He promised his people that he will complete all abandoned project before embarking on new ones, soon after the Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has commissioned the ultra modern office complex and other projects within his 100days in office.

On his peace agenda ,he purchased a Toyota Hilux pickup van for the police patrol in the area. He also believed that to nib youths restiveness on the bud and reduce unemployment, he has organized skill acquisition programmes for the youths in various trade, football club and training talented players were been sponsored across the LG Council.
Education and Health were given top priority in Hon. Otirhue’s administration. He has purchased books worth millions of Naira for primary and secondary schools in the council on health, the Okpe LG boss has embarked on Anti-hypertensive care campaign, deworming exercise for children between the ages of 9 months to 15 years.
He has also ensured that the monthly local immunization program is carried out to the letter.
The Okpe LG Council is working in collobration with the state Primary Health Care Development Agency for the treatment of tuberculosis, leprosy, River blindness for Okpe citizens.
Infrastructural development which is one of the cordinal programe of the state Government is also vigorously implemented in the council area.
Otirhue administration has completed 80,000 litres –capacity solar powered water supply at Merese
, an ancestral town of the Okpes.
In the same town, he has built 5 blocks residential quarters for the Police.In fact, at the moment more than 27 projcts has been embarked upon, some have been completed while others are on going.
Finally if other LG council chairmen are working as much as Hon. Otirhue, the call for scrapping of the third tier of government couldn’t have arisen, let other LG bosses borrow a leaf from Hon. Joseph Otirhue.

Jeff Nkwocha
Local Government Study Network

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Let rule of law apply on sack of LG chairmen

Let rule of law apply on sack of LG chairmen
By Jeff Nkwocha
Sunday, April 12, 2009 •More stories on this section

The fundaments of justice are that no one shall suffer wrong, and that the public good be served -Marcus Tullius Cicero

The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria made it nearly impossible to remove the President and state governors. But the Constitution loses its grip when it comes to the third tier of government.
While the present local government councils derive the power and legitimacy from the Constitution, it however handed over their supervision to the states and their legislative houses, which invariably leads to the abuse of section 7(1).

This section stipulates that the government of every state shall ensure the existence of democratically elected local government councils. The result is that today council chairmen can be removed from office either by the governors, the state assemblies or even the legislative arm of their councils. They can also be sacked by reducing their tenure to one year.

In the present dispensation, not less than 12 council chairmen have either been suspended or sacked. Many are being threatened with impeachment across the country. The reasons for their removal range from mere fracas and internal wrangling in their councils to absence from their party’s activities. Some have been removed on trumped-up allegations while others were sacked without explanation.

In Benue State, Hon Terlumun Akpaku of Kwande Local Government and his Gboko counterpart, Hon Simeon Abua Yajir have been suspended as well as Hon Tele Ogunjobi of Ijebu North in Ogun State. In Kwara State, the Ilorin East chairman, Hon Usman Bibire Ajape and his Kontagora counterpart in Niger State, Abdulhamid El-Waziri, have both been removed. In Edo State, Hon Crosby Eribo of Egor Council was first suspended by the state assembly before he was booted out by the election tribunal.
Those having impeachment notices hanging on their neck include Dr Mike Ehima of Oredo Council (Edo), Chief Askia Ogieh of Isoko South Council (Delta State), Hon Goddy Kanu (Umuahia South) and Princewill Ukaegbu (Umuahia North) both in Abia State.
Others are Anthony Agbazuere (Isiala Ngwa North) and Glory Okechukwu Kanu (Ukwa East) also in Abia State.

We, members of the Local Government Study Network and other fair-minded Nigerians, are calling on the National Assembly Joint Committee on Constitution Review (JCCR) to ensure that elected council chairmen are protected from arbitrary removal from office. Punishment for any chairman should be in consonance with the law and not at the whim of the state governors, members of state assemblies or the legislative arm of the councils.

• Jeff Nkwocha
Local Government Study Network