Kogi lawmakers extend tenure of LG transition committees till 2018
Gbenga Odogun, Lokoja
Despite the N450m captured in the 2017 budget for the conduct of local government elections in Kogi State, Governor Yahaya Bello has written the House of Assembly asking it to extend the tenure of caretaker committees for the second time.
The governor cited lack of funds and insecurity as the major reasons for his solicitation.
Consequently, the Kogi State House of Assembly has, again, extended the tenure of the LG transition committee till April 2018.
The approval was sequel to a letter Bello sent to the House, citing lack of funds and insecurity, among others, as some of the reasons for the state not conducting local government election as captured in the 2017 budget.
The tenure of the local government transition committees had expired on November 5.
This is the second time the term of six months will be extended since the inception of the Yahaya Bello administration in the state.
Deliberating on the matter on the House floor on Wednesday, Hon. Kekere Sanni (APC Okehi), while supporting the request, said the reasons itemised by the executive were enough to give an express passage to the request, as the state has adopted “principle of necessity.”
John Abba ( APC Ibaji constituency) reminded the House that N450m was captured for the conduct of local government elections in the 2017 budget, and wondered why the executive failed to adopt the resolution of the House when it first extended the administrators’ tenure.
He called on the House to, at all times, promote, protect and fight for democracy, saying there is no substitute.
He advised the House that the six-month extension should mean that within the six months, elections should be conducted by State Independent Electoral Commission and a democratically elected council sworn in.
According to him, “Provision was made in the 2017 budget. I think if we refresh our memory, the issues raised by the executive is crucial.
“My main concern is not just extending their tenure, because either we like it or not, caretaker committee is illegal.
“The Supreme Court has confirmed it. It is appalling that majority of the state in Nigeria are operating under caretaker committees, which is illegal, uncalled for and should be condemned.
“We want to make it known to the executive that if this is granted, we can no longer continue in illegality. No more extension.
“In their own contributions, Majority leader Bello Abdullahi (APC Ajaokuta) and Linus Eneche (APC Olamaboro) both aligned that local government was created to bring the government closer to the people, hence the need not to create any vacuum in the interest of Kogi people.
Lending his voice to the deliberation, the member representing Bassa Constituency, who is also the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Sunday Shigaba, said the House gave the approval to allow the SIEC to properly prepare for the council election.
“What is happening in the House is between law and reality. “Interim government or whatever you call it is illegal.
“It has become practically impossible for the state government to conduct election as at when due.
“Whether we like it or not, we can’t compel the executive to conduct election before the close of the year, given the time frame that is available to us.”