Sunday, May 9, 2010

Halt mass sack of LG Chairmen

Halt Mass Sack Of LG Chairmen
The Constitution of Nigeria states in Section 7(1): “The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this Constitution guaranteed and, accordingly, the government of every state shall ensure their existence.”
For years, this section has been observed largely in the breach, otherwise how we can reconcile the fact that Anambra State, for example, is yet to conduct LG elections since 1999?
Also, in Bauchi State, the entire 20 LG chairmen were suspended for eight months for an offence that indicted none of them.
In Owerri, similarly, the Court of Appeal has ordered the Abia State Government to reinstate the 17 sacked LG chairmen because they were yet to complete their tenure.
In Kaduna State, the state House of Assembly is set to replace the 17 LG bosses with Sole Administrators, even before the expiration of their tenure in March next year.
The political intrigues in Benue State, coupled with the so-called LG reform, had not only swept 12 LG chairmen out of office but also landed them in the EFCC’s net.
Today, there are no worthy examples of local government councils across the land, even as Governors who have sworn to uphold the Constitution violate section 7 (1) among others, with embarrassing ease.
The tier of government at the grassroots needs to be rescued from extinction. A situation where elected LG chairmen can be sacked by the trio of state governors, state assemblies and the legislative arm of the council areas can no longer be acceptable to Nigerians.
•Jeff Nkwocha
LG Study Network

Monday, May 3, 2010

Impeachment of Patani LG chairman in bad fate

Dear Editor,

Impeachment of Patani LG chairman in bad fate

The impeachment of the only female LG chairman in Delta State, Mrs. Josephine Abeki, by the legislative arm of the council was in bad fate. According to the leader of the Legislative council, Mr. AKpor Ebimobowei, the chairman was removed because of her failure to render statement of income, expenditure and annual report to the legislative arm for it to consider in order to ensure accountability and enforce performance ethics.

Mr. Ebimobowei and his co-travelers could only tell this to the marines, they have other reasons other than what they want the world to believed .Right from day one, they were hell-bent to impeach Hon Josephine Abeki.

It is on record that a prominent Nigerian and the President of Ijaw youth council worldwide ( IYC), Dr. Chris Ekiyor had earlier cautioned Patani LG councilors to put an end to their protracted power struggle. Dr. Ekiyor said “the councilors must follow due process in all their demands, they should rise above selfish claims and legislate for the good of the citizens they represent. He added that, “they should respect constituted Authority especially the LG chairman.”

The question now is, how would the councilors selfish demand corroborate with failure of the LG Boss to render income and expenditure account as alleged by the councilors.

We the members of LG study network are calling on the Delta state House of Assembly to investigate the alleged offences of Mrs. Abeki. We have seen cases where an elected LG chairman was removed from office for the simple reason that he fail to approve large sum s of money as Christmas bonus to the councilors.

Punishment for any LG chairman should be in consonance with the law and not at the whim of the members of the legislative arm of the council.

Jeff Nkwocha

LG Study Network


Dissolution of LGAs


The House of Representatives reportedly ‘ordered’ the Inspector-General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, to provide adequate protection for the 16 local government councils’ chairmen sacked by Ekiti State Gov. Kayode Fayemi to return to their offices. The Reps further ‘mandated’ the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Finance Minister to start withholding – “with immediate effect” – funds designated for both Edo and Ekiti states – “and any other state that may toe a similar line” – pending when the governors reverse their decisions to lock-out the chairmen from their offices.

That was how the house of representative reacted to the unconstitutional dissolution of council Areas in Edo and Ekiti state.

It will be recalled that the court of Appeal sitting in Owerri had declared as illegal the dissolution of '2004 LG Regime' by Abia State Government. The judgement stated in clear terms that the elected LG Chairmen and chancillors had not lapsed their tenure in office. The court verdict was greeted with jubilations across the state but little did the people know that a bad precedence had been set in motion by the state Government.

Today, Ondo,Oyo, Edo, Kebbi and Ekiti states have jumped into the bandwagon.

In Ekiti state, Gov. Kayode Fayemi dissolved the 16 LG councils without recourse to the house of Assembly.

According to Chief Bola Olu – Ojo, the state Chairman of PDP, “The governor does not have any constitutional backing in dissolving councils that were legally constituted neither does he have moral and constitutional justification in doing so without recourse to the state House of Assembly.

“’The councils, as it is presently constituted, can not be dissolved without the approval of the two-third members of the state House of Assembly who are presently on official trip to Germany. So, where does he derive the power?”

Olu-Ojo pointed out that it was very sad and unfortunate that Fayemi who used to claim that he is an apostle of rule of law and a human rights crusader has now turned against the law flagrantly without minding the consequences.

He wondered why the mandate given to the 16 local government chairmen and 177 councillors by the people of Ekiti State could just be withdrawn by somebody who swore to defend the country’s constitution.

The party chairman warned Fayemi against actions that could throw Ekiti State into chaos, adding that the party will not accept any illegality and will mobilise against it.

In the same vein, Gov Saidu Dakingasi of Kebbi State did not only dissolve the 21 LG council in the state mid way into their tenure but also defiled court ruling ordering their reinstatement .

It look the Federal Govt. intervention to reinstate the sacked LG chairmen in Ondo state in 2009 while Gov. Adebayo Alao Akala of Oyo State dissolved the council Areas in Oyo state the same day he was inaugurated in may 29 ,2007.

We the members of Local Govt. Study Network are calling on the National Assembly to commence a review of the laws dealing with local government

administration in the nation to see how real autonomy can be granted the third tier of government

Dissolution of Local Govt. Councils midway into their tenure is tantamount to civilian coup d'etat.
Jeff Nkwocha
LG Study Network