The Nasarawa State House of Assembly is to hold an emergency session on Monday over the tenure of elected local government officials due to expire on March 23, officials have told PREMIUM TIMES.
The parliament’s decision to discuss the matter is causing jitters among members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state as the party has 11 of the 13 council chairmen while the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has 2
The Assembly on Sunday issued a statement signed by the clerk, Ego Maikeffi, calling on members to resume sitting on February 16.
Although the statement did not disclose the agenda for the sitting, sources in the assembly confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that the main agenda is the tenure of the local government officials.
The PDP-dominated assembly had passed a controversial law putting the tenure of local government officials as one year, despite the opposition of Governor Umaru Al-Makura of the APC.
Already, the state government has sent a bill seeking the extension of the tenure of the council officials from one to three years. The bill does not however enjoy the support of the majority opposition lawmakers.
A state lawmaker who asked for anonymity said that the Assembly would not extend the tenure because the governor is looking for ways for the chairmen to work for his re-election bid. The chairmen’s tenure ends on March 23, five days before the presidential election and three weeks before the governorship elections.
However, the Special Assistant on Public affairs to the governor, Abdulhamid Kwarra, said the APC would win the general elections in the state with or without the elected council officials.
Mr. Kwarra confirmed that the governor had sent a bill seeking for amendment to the law on tenure of council officials.
Last week, the state chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON, Sulieman Wambai, appealed to the State Assembly to extend the tenure of the elected council officials from one to three years.
Mr. Wambai made the appeal in a chat with journalists in his office along Makurdi road, Lafia.
He explained that the one year tenure is not enough to offer services that will touch the lives of the ordinary citizen. He added that given the lean resources accruing to the state, it would be counter-productive to conduct elections annually because of the cost of such.
Mr. Wambai, who is also the chairman of Lafia Local Government Area, said that “most chairmen have just settled down and are about to execute most of their projects.”
He appealed to the state government and the Assembly to look beyond parties for the collective interest of Nasarawa residents.