Council elections have not been held in Nasarawa for two years.
The Nasarawa State Government on Thursday directed the State Independent Electoral Commission (NASIEC) to commence the process of conducting local government elections.
Hamza Elayo-Mohammed, the Commissioner for Information and Ethical Orientation, announced the directive in Lafia after the State Executive Council meeting.
The state has had no elected representative at the local governments for the past two years owing to a legal tussle between the state government and elected local government chairman who are challenging the decision of the state assembly to reduce their tenure from 3 to 2 years.
The protesting chairmen are members of the Peoples Democratic Party while the state governor, Tanko Al-Makura is a member of the Congress for Progressive Change.
The legal tussle started before the expiration of the last PDP administration in the state under Governor Aliyu Akwe Doma. The commissioner said that the legal obstacles that prevented the conduct of the polls in the past four years had been removed.
He said that both parties in the disagreement, the state government and the former local government chairmen, had agreed to an out-of-court settlement.
“The former council chairmen took the state government to the Supreme Court. They were advised to withdraw the matter for amicable resolution, Plans are therefore on to settle the remaining grey areas.
“In furtherance to this therefore, the Nasarawa State Independent Electoral Commission (NASIEC) has been given the go ahead to begin the process leading to the conduct of local government elections,” he said.
The Chairman of NASIEC, Abdullahi Modibbo, also confirmed that the electoral body has commenced preparations for the election.
He said that the commission was working out a budget for the conduct of the election and had started updating the guidelines for the conduct of election in the state.
He promised that the election would be free and fair, adding that NASIEC was also collaborating with international donor agencies for technical support.
He said, as part of the plans to achieve free and fair election, the commission had commenced sensitising the electorate on their rights and responsibilities.
Mr. Modibbo said that the electoral body also planned to hold periodic stakeholders meeting which would involve community leaders, traditional institutions, the media, civil society groups and political parties on imperatives for free and fair polls.