The Nigerian Senate, on Tuesday, July 25, has initiated moves to liberate local governments and make them independent from states.
This was the part of the amendment of 1999 Constitution suggested by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu-led constitution amendment committee.
When the proposal is adopted, the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] will thenceforth conduct local government elections
Senator Ekweremadu presented the proposal to alter the 1999 Constitution in order to strip the states of power to constitute electoral commissions to conduct local government elections.
Ekweremadu’s report originally had 32 items, including autonomy for local government areas.
The APC senator representing Kogi West Senatorial Zone, Dino Melaye argued that allowing states to oversee conducts of local government elections would bring disorder on the call for autonomy.
“How do we speak of local government autonomy, without addressing the foundation?” argued Mr. Melaye.
He, therefore, sought that states be stripped of the power to constitute state electoral commissions to conduct local government elections.
The house adopted the motion moved by Melaye after a voice vote.
The bill also proposes that no local council should receive allocation except it is democratically constituted to discourage ‘caretaker committees’ in charge at local councils.
In other amendments, the Senate gave 30 days ultimatum to President, Governors after their inauguration into office to appoint Ministers and Commissioners.
Other recommendations are financial autonomy for local government, independent candidates for all levels in elections, former Speaker’s and former Senate Presidents to be part of National Council of states.
The also considered other items in Mr. Ekweremadu’s report on the bill to further amend the Constitution as at the time of filing this report.
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