As Nigeria struggles to deepen her democracy, no fewer than 17 state governments are running their local councils with transition or caretaker committees.
Currently, 323 (41.73 per cent) of the 774 local councils are without elected chairmen and councillors. This is contrary to Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which guarantees the system of local government by democratically elected officials.
However, 451 LGAs (58.27%) across 19 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, have elected LGAs, according to Vanguard’s checks.
Factors fingered for the inability of many states to conduct council polls include insecurity, paucity of funds, and political and legal battles. A few of the states had the elected chairmen suspended by their governors over alleged corruption.
In July 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that state governors do not have the power to sack elected council officials.
The apex court, while delivering judgment in the case of the removal of 148 elected local government officials by the Abia State Government in 2006, unanimously held that the action was illegal and amounted to “official recklessness” by the governor.
Also, in 2019, the Supreme Court councils without elected officials should not receive federal allocation, but this is yet to be implemented. The move to ensure direct allocations to the councils via the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, guidelines on the management of local governments’ funds guidelines in 2019 was aborted by governors.
Among the 36 states of the country Anambra, Imo and Borno are the worst.
The last local government election in Anambra State was conducted in November 2014, at the twilight of the administration of Governor Peter Obi. Thereafter, the state has been without elected council executives since 2017.
Next year, it will be 10 years of no council election in Anambra. Borno State is back in the league of States without elected LGAs. The Boko Haram insurgency deprived Borno State of the opportunity to hold council elections from 2007 to 2020 (a period of 13 years. The state conducted council polls in 2020 but could not sustain it when the tenure of the elected executives expired last year.
Governor Babagana Zulum, on December 29, 2022, appointed transition committee chairmen for the 27 LGAs of the state. And last July, new transition committees were raised after the six-month tenure of their predecessors lapsed.
In Imo, the last LG poll was conducted on August 25, 2018. It was the first LG poll in seven years.
In Kwara, the last council election was in November 2017; caretaker committees have been in charge since 2020.
In Zamfara, the last LG poll was held on April 27, 2019, and the state returned to appointees after the tenure of the chairmen expired.
Bauchi is another state that has not fared well in ensuring democracy at the council level. For 12 years between 2008 and 2020, there was no LG election in the state.
In October 2020, council polls wer held and when the tenure of the elected executive ended in October 2020, Governor Bala Mohammed appointed caretaker committees.
In Benue, the last LG poll was held on May 1, 2022. However, Governor Hyacint Alia, on June 24 acted on the correspondence from the State Assembly that recommended suspension of the council chairmen, pending when they will complete investigations into cases of alleged corruption against them. The chairmen went to court but currently the councils are administered by appointees.
Out-gone Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau swore in elected council chairmen on October 11, 2022 following their election on October 9.
However, his successor, Governor Caleb Mutfwang, on June 1, suspended all democratic structures in the 17 local councils following recommendations of the Plateau State House of Assembly, and appointed transition chairmen.
Justifying the sack, Governor Muftwang said: “The suspension followed their inability to produce documents related to financial transactions in the various local governments,” saying all efforts to make them produce the documents proved abortive.
He explained that “the state government, after careful study of the recommendations, resolved to suspend the chairmen to conduct an efficient and proper investigation into the development.”
Muftwang urged the transition chairmen to cooperate with the PLHA and ensure that all documents required for the investigation were provided for appropriate action.
Among the six geo-political zones, the North-East is the worst. Only one of the six states operates democracy at the grassroots. Only Adamawa (21 LGAs) have elected executives. The other five states – Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe (91 LGAs) don’t have elected councils.
In the South-East, three of the five states (Abia, Anambra and Imo) with 65 local councils are without elected executives. Only 30 councils in Ebonyi and Enugu are democratically administered.
Conversely, the North-West zone is the best; only two out of its seven states (Sokoto and Zamfara) with 37 LGAs are not under democratic rule. The other states (Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina and Kebbi) with 149 LGAs have elected executives.
In the South-West only 48 LGAs from Ondo and Osun are without elected councils as the remaining four- Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun and Oyo have democratically administered 69 LGAs.
The North-Central has 65 democratically administered LGAs and 56 without.
In the South-South, 97 LGAs from four states (Delta, Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Edo are democratically administered while 26 LGAs in Bayelsa and Cross River are not.
Until last week, Edo State had been without elected council executives since 2020 when the tenure of the officers elected in 2018 lapsed.
Those aggrieved with govs’ conduct should go to court – NGF source
On the position of Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, on the issue of 17 members of the body breaching Section 7 of the constitution by running local councils with caretaker committee, a source who did not want his name in print, said: “The matter sounds political and the NGF does not dabble into politics.
‘’The issue varies from state to state. We don’t sit as a council in the NGF to discuss what happens at the local governments. The things we talk about are things that affect our core mandate on good governance. We can advise governors on good governance but if they don’t take the advice, there is nothing we can do.
“All governors must abide by the provisions of the constitution. If any governor is doing something illegal, those aggrieved should go to court.
“Talking about local government finances, until the Joint Allocation Accounts Committee, JAAC, is abolished, there is no way any LG will get its allocation directly. If any local government chairman is not running its council properly, he may not get allocation from the governor.”
Osun Pensioners: Governor Adeleke is Committed to Payment of Pensions, Entitlements
The government of Governor Ademola Adeleke has reacted to the rumor of accrued pensions not paid by his government as alleged by opposition in the state, upon which some unscrupulous elements are allegedly planning a protest march.
We want the public to note that the current government has been consistent in paying some of the accrued pensions, owed by previous governments, from inception of his administration
While we have ascertained and confirmed that the rumour of a planned protest is not true,we alert the public to the spreading of the fake news designed to offend and confuse the contributory pensioners who are strong supporters of Governor Adeleke.
We assert that the pensioners and other stakeholders are aware of sustained efforts of the current government to pay up the inherited pensions.
It may also interest stakeholders to note that the Governor has 48 hours ago directed the hosting of an emergency consultative meeting with contributory pensioners to table full data before them and agree on a path to further payments.
Details of the meeting are to be communicated to relevant stakeholders.
Ahead of the meeting, we take liberty to release part of the records with renewed commitment of the administration to accelerate the payment process.
The records according to the Local Government Staff Pension Bureau in the state, shows that the government of Ademola Adeleke has made payment to both the contributory pensioners and old pensioners in the state, with effect from 28th November, 2022 till date.
The breakdown is as follows:
MONTHLY PENSION (Old Pension Scheme) – Three billion naira (N3 billion).
PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS – Two billion, nine hundred and sixteen million, two hundred and twenty-four thousand, three hundred and forty-one naira and thirty kobo (N2,916,224,341: 30).
LOCAL GOVERNMENT STAFF PENSIONERS – One billion, Sixty-two million, Four Hundred and Sixty-nine thousand, Seven hundred and Forty-three naira, Eighty-six Kobo (N1,062,469,743 : 86).
Regarding Death Benefits:
PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS – Three hundred and Twenty-four million, Two hundred and Eighty-nine thousand, Five hundred and Ninety naira, Sixty-two Kobo (N324,289,590: 62).
LOCAL GOVERNMENT STAFF PENSIONERS – Nine-six million, One hundred and Eighty-one thousand, Thirty-two naira, Ninety-two Kobo (N96,181,032: 92).
MONTHLY PENSION (Contributory Pension) Remittances:
PRIMARY SCHOOL – One billion, Eighty-three million,One hundred and Ninety-seven thousand,two hundred and Sixty-five naira, Thirty-six Kobo (N1,083,197,265:36).
LOCAL GOVERNMENT STAFF PENSIONERS – Six hundred and One million, Seven hundred and Seventy-four thousand, Thirty-two naira, Thirty-two kobo (N601,774,032:32).
PRESENTATION OF BOND CERTIFICATES:
PRIMARY SCHOOL – One billion, Nine hundred and Eleven million, Three hundred and Seventy thousand, Two hundred and Eleven naira, Forty-four Kobo (N1,911,370,211:44).
LOCAL GOVT STAFF PENSIONERS – Seven hundred and Eight million, Forty-one thousand, Three hundred and Seventy-eight naira, Ninety-seven Kobo (N708,041,378:97).
The government appreciates the Pensioners and especially the contributory pensioners for their understanding, resilience and appreciation of the high level of commitment already shown by the government and urge them to distance themselves from evil operatives of the previous regime who were responsible for the pension debt in the first place.
As we remind the public and pensioners that Governor Adeleke has workers welfare as a number on his agenda, we affirm that the Governor has the best interest of workers, pensioners and the public at heart and his government will therefore not under any circumstances deny retirees their due rights and privileges.
The government reiterates its commitment to the good people of Osun state, and asked that the lying opposition party be shunned, as they are mischief makers.
Oluomo Kolapo Alimi
Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment
Mohbad: I Disguised To Candlelight, Shameful Things People Did – FPRO
The Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, has said that he was one of those who attended the candlelight and night of tribe held for Ilerioluwa Aloba, aka Mohbad, in Lagos.
The Assistant Commissioner of Police, however, said the conduct of some of those there did not serve the purpose.
In a tweet on his X handle, Adejobi said inasmuch as candlelight processions are a right, it should be done with decorum.
He tweeted: “None could recognise me, I disguised.
“But I intentionally attended to see things for myself and have an opinion about the whole thing.
“I gathered some intelligence there yesterday.
“Sincerely, many guys are our problem.
“You dey mourn, u con dey smoke, dey hit or attack people, dey drive reckless, etc.
“May his soul rest in peace.
“While I commend the organisers of the lagos procession for their steadfastness and understanding.
“I hope others will emulate them.
“It’s reasonable to end all processions at the latest 7pm.
“Candle light procession is a rite and must be purposeful.”
Ramsdale’s Time At Arsenal Coming To An End —Premier League Legend
Premier League legendary American goalkeeper Brad Friedel has said he is certain that Aaron Ramsdale’s time at Arsenal is coming to an end.
Ramsdale has been overlooked for selection in past two games, with summer signing David Raya getting the nod.
The Spanish goalkeeper joined Arsenal from Brentford on a £3million loan deal with a purchase option of £27m.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has insisted to the media that he will pick his goalkeeper based on tactical reasons.
But the fact that Raya has started in both the Premier League and now Champions League has many questioning his statements.
One of those is Friedel, who has the third-most appearances of any goalkeeper in Premier League history.
When asked if it’s over for Ramsdale if Raya starts this weekend’s north London derby against Tottenham, the American replied on talkSPORT: “Absolutely.”
“I thought from the second they signed him they signed him to be the new no.1, I don’t think you pay that much money for someone with one year left on their contract, I know he signed an extra contract and went on loan, but that was for other reasons.
“I think they really liked Raya so when he became available they pushed for him.”
“It’s very harsh on Ramsdale but it’s the coach’s decision,” the former Liverpool and Tottenham keeper said.
“I’m assuming Ramsdale at the end of this season will end up having to do what Matt Turner did at the end of the previous season and find another place to play.
“I know it’s early and people will say you have to see what he does, but I think Raya was brought in as the no.1, you thought maybe they could be swapping if they’d played Ramsdale in the Champions League, but that didn’t happen.
“I think we’ll see Raya in goal and he’ll be the incumbent no.1 this season.”
Ramsdale joined Arsenal in the summer of 2021, leaving Sheffield United in a £30m deal.
Last season the 25-year-old almost helped the Gunners to a first league title in almost two decades, which Friedel thinks will see him join another top club where he can play every match
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