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Amend Constitution To Allow INEC Conduct Local Govt Elections – Ex-Federal Lawmaker Tells National Assembly | Citizen NewsNG

ByCitizen NewsNG

May 13, 2024

INEC Ballot Boxes/Vote Casting 

 

Former member of House of Representatives, Sam Onuigbo, has called for the transfer of conduct of local government elections from State Electoral Commissions to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

He said this on Monday in Abuja during an interview as the National Assembly embarks on the Review of 1999 Constitution.

Mr Onuigbo represented Ikwuano/Umuahia North and South federal constituency at the Ninth National Assembly.

Leading politicians and rights activists have been vocal about the need for the review to make local governments truly independent. They include former governors of Edo and Kaduna, Adams Oshiomhole and Nasir el-Rufai and Shehu Sani.

The Green Chamber on February 26 inaugurated a six-member committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution.

House Speaker Tajudeen Abass promised that the exercise would address the pitfalls of the constitution currently in use which was drafted at the twilight of the military era.

Mr Onuigbo said if INEC conducts local government elections it would minimise the manipulation of the process by governors.

“It is the party at the Government House that wins all the elections; so that is a problem. So I say that we have to take out (state independent electoral commissions) or let INEC conduct the election so that we can have some balance… to have some competitive spirit,’’ said the politician.

He said the review should also make local governments to be truly autonomous in the discharge of its resources, including being in charge of its financial resources.

“It is absolutely important that in the current review they have to take a critical look at the local government system,“ he said.

Mr Onuigbo also frowned upon governors runnjng a state-local government joint account. He stated that it did not augur well for judicious use of local governments’ resources.

“It is, therefore, important that we a review that truly guarantees the independence of the local government, so that all the monies accruing to them be put to use to the benefit of the masses,” Mr Onuigbo stressed.

Mr Onuigbo, who sponsored the Climate Change Bill signed into law by then-President Muhammadu Buhari, said more resources at the disposal of local governments could translate to more infrastructure and delivery of democracy dividends.

He said this could also manifest in their more commitment to climate change policies and actions.

“When we talk about emissions they are coming out from communities where local governments are supposed to in charge. You are also talking about nature-based solutions.Therefore, it is important that we allow local governments to play their roles,’’ he explained.

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