While APC govs use unelected officials to run local govts, party chairman condemns action

APC Governors and President Buhari
FILE PHOTO: APC Governors and President Buhari used to illustrate story

While majority of his party’s state governors run local governments with unelected caretaker committees, a top official of Nigeria’s ruling APC has condemned the move and asked it be outlawed.

About 16 of the 23 states controlled by the APC run their local government areas with transition or caretaker committees. Some opposition PDP controlled states also govern their local governments using caretaker or transition committees.

The only APC states that have conducted council polls since 2015 are Niger, Zamfara, Ogun, Yobe, Adamawa and Sokoto.

Ondo State, where the party came to power last Friday, conducted council polls under the previous PDP-administration in April 2016.

However, on Tuesday, Ben Nwoye, the Enugu State APC chairman advocated a legislation that would outlaw use of such committees to administer local governments.

Mr. Nwoye said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria that outlawing the committees would help curb the excesses of state governors.

He said some of the governors had taken the advantage of the seeming lacuna in the constitution to “rape” the local councils through their errand boys as caretaker committee chairmen.

He said it had been tested that the constitution had no outright directive mandating state governments to run the local councils with elected executive council members.

“Whatever that is there in the constitution as regards the administration of local government areas is a weak provision and the courts have interpreted it up and down,” Mr. Nwoye said.

“That is why the state governors are not obeying it and there needs to be clarity that you cannot have unelected people to run the local councils.

“There should be a constitutional provision mandating them to conduct the elections because those on appointments are responsible to those that appointed them,” he said.

The APC chairman said that it had become necessary to either scrap the state electoral bodies or make them subservient to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

“The Federal Government should either scrap the state electoral bodies or get INEC to closely monitor their activities during local government elections.”

Mr. Nwoye called on the Ken Nnamani-led Constitutional and Electoral Reform Committee not to contemplate foisting a two-party system on Nigeria as canvassed in some quarters.

He said that the issue of a two-party system would run contrary to the provision of freedom of association in the constitution.

According to him, the APC is a beneficiary of the multi-party system.

He said that even advance similar democracies like the United States of America after did not run a two-party state.

“Two -system do not work in a true democracy because as long as people have freedom to associate that freedom allows them,” he said.

Mr. Nwoye said that the state chapter of the party had during the Electoral Reform Committee public hearing in the state made its presentation on that.

“We need to allow people to associate as it allows for new flow of ideas. So, the committee should not go into that,” he said.

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