National President of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Mr Felix Akhabue
The Federal Government has been urged to declare state of emergency in local government areas following the refusal of most state governors to conduct elections into the councils.
This call was made by the National President of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Mr Felix Akhabue, Thursday while speaking with journalists at Ekpoma in Edo State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Akhabue, who called for urgent amendment of the Constitution to guarantee the independence of the councils, stressed that most governors had not only clearly violated provisions of the constitution, but also bluntly disobeyed court orders by illegally setting up caretaker committees to run the councils.
He said: “There is a lot of atrocities and violation of the constitution at that level of government. It is clear in the constitution that councils should be run by elected officials. Just as it is the right of every Nigerian to elect the President of the country and the governors, it is also their right to elect council officials.
“The people have been denied the power and duty to elect those who should govern them at that level of government. The governors are not only violating the provisions of the constitution as they concern the affairs of councils, but are also busy disobeying court orders.
“Take Edo State for instance, Governor Adams Oshiomhole and the ACN sued the then governor, Oserheimen Osunbor, for appointing caretaker committees to manage the affairs of councils and the court declared the committees illegal. Is it not funny that Oshiomhole, who is now governor of the state, seems to be doing what he went to court to challenge.”
Akhabue stressed that the constitutional infringements would stop only if the independence of local governments is guaranteed by the constitution, adding that “I often hear people talk of joint account between the state and local government areas, but I stand to tell you that there is nothing like that.
“If I say I have something jointly with you, at least, I will have a say as much as you do. But the joint account people talk about is only a state account that the councils’ money passes through. After collecting or receiving the money, the state releases to councils what it wishes.”