By Segun Awofadeji
Governor of Bauchi State, Senator Bala Mohammed, has declared that the appointment of local government caretaker chairmen is unconstitutional and undemocratic.
Mohammed, however, admitted that he had to appoint local government caretakers in order to fill the existing vacancies in the affected LGs.
Speaking yesterday while swearing in four council caretaker chairmen to replace three that were removed and one who was appointed into another office, the governor assured the residents that the LG elections, which were to hold on Saturday, June 20, but were suspended, would be held after the current pandemic was over.
“I did not want to come out for this swearing-in because I knew I had promised Nigerians that we were going to hold local government elections very soon. But this situation is a doctrine of necessity that we had to swear in and get extension of the tenure of local government caretaker chairmen from the state Assembly in view of the COVID-19 pandemic which has precluded us from abiding by the time-table set out by the State Independent Electoral Commission.
“I want to reiterate that we will hold council elections as soon as it is feasible. We have completed all arrangements to do that.
“That is the only way we can show and deepen democracy in Nigeria and we know that this caretaker system is not democratic, it is unconstitutional but we have to fill in the vacuum.”
The governor stated that recent sacking of three local government caretaker chairmen was because they were involved in illegal tree felling and conniving with some unscrupulous citizens to dispose government property.
The sacked local government chairmen were Baffa Bara (Kirfi); Nura Dan Maisahria (Ningi) and Gara’u Adamu (Darazo) while the erstwhile Caretaker Chairman of Tafawa Balewa was appointed by Governor Mohammed as a Special Adviser, Legal Affairs.
“One of the reasons one of the local government chairmen was removed was because he was cutting trees. You shouldn’t do that. Our environment is dear to us. Today, we have people coming to Bauchi who are not citizens of the state colluding with local government chairmen and deforesting our forest, we cannot accept that.
“Some of them were selling government lands and allocating them without approval, please we should excuse selfishness,” he said.
Mohammed charged the in-coming caretaker chairmen to shun corruption, high-handedness and carry along all stakeholders in their various local governments.