THE UNDEMOCRATIC CONDUCT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS IN NIGERIA BY STATE GOVERNORS IN CONNIVANCE WITH YES-MEN STATE ASSEMBLY MEMBERS. IS LARGELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SEEMINGLY VOTER APATHY AND OUTRIGHT RIGGING OF THE ENTIRE LOCAL ELECTIONS. *
……Local Government election is the greatest ELECTORAL fraud foisted on our electoral Representative Democracy
I will like to state here categorically that the entire 8 years rule of Buhari I supported only one policy and that is Executive Order 10 signed in May 2020 by President Muhammadu Buhari which outrightly granted financial and administrative autonomy to State legislature, judiciary as well as the local government authority as the third tier of government in Nigeria, I see this as the right step to free the local government councils and give them the needed independence and the Judicial authority not seeing beyond the need of themselves truncated that process because Almighty Nigerian Governors like WIKE were against the survival and elimination of obstacles militating against the independence of these critical parts of our country’s democratic system.
We should all be concerned about the status and happenings within the Local Government System in Nigeria, it is now a notorious fact that it has been hijacked by the Nigerian Governors and I will want to state emphatically that I will totally support any collaborative efforts in the direction of working with National assembly (10th Assembly) to carry out constitutional amendment that will lead to the granting of full financial and Electoral autonomy to the Local Government System and Administration in Nigeria, because I can say this without mincing words that the presumed failure or the inability of the Local councils to drive and bring about development in Nigeria to a glaring point that could have positive impact on the lives of ordinary Nigerians can easily be attributed to the total lack of Local government election and financial autonomy because most of these local government administrators are imposed on the people, we naturally can’t hold them accountable, no matter the laudable program(s) of any administration at the Federal level without corresponding efforts at the Local Government level, all will amount to little or no impact in the life of the Nigerian people.
These Governors act with reckless impunity against elected Local Government Chairmen, suspend them at will in contravention to all relevant laws and statues, ( imagine what the local government Chairman that dared to question the Governor of Ogun state about how the State and local joint account was been mismanaged) The current law as regards the administration of our Local Government System no longer serves the interest of the Nigerian people and must be urgently reviewed to save and promote effective Local Council System as expected in every democratic presidential system. One of the major functions of duly elected councilors is to make bye laws for the good governance and development of all Local Government areas across Nigeria but as I write this article to state that my emphasis are not misplaced and the importance of local government autonomy should never be ignored or underestimated and the reason why voter apathy persist in local elections is because elections at that level are totally manipulated to ensure that the governor’s Party record is 100% victory and constitutionally assigned functions of local government officials has been greatly eroded by the excessive interference and impunity of our Governors.
All the above have in a great way contributed to voter apathy because without transparency there is no legitimacy and without legitimacy there is no trust.
I must say without mincing words that the state Independent electoral Commission is the greatest democratic fraud foisted on our electoral democracy and that is the major reason I have come to the undeniable conclusion that it is important that the conduct of Local Government elections becomes the responsibilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) or we collectively work to enact and overhaul the laws that governs the affairs of State Independent Electoral Commission (SIECS) because from the attitude and conduct of state elections by all States Independent Electoral Commissions (SIEC’s) it is impossible to get a free, fair and credible election under the existing arrangement. The current system encourages massive rigging because SIEC’s are under the wings and caprices of the State Governors WHO uses the State Assembly to manipulate the conduct of the elections in favour of his own Political Party and no exception across Nigeria. As I have seen over the years, how Parties that control the state will stop at nothing to fraudulently tailor the results of local government elections in their favour. You will also discover that all Local Government election conducted in States are won by the Party in power in each respective states under review; the opposition party in the state is always left with nothing. If Local authorities have autonomy and tenure their guaranteed, it will be easy for the people to hold them accountable and this will in turn bring development closer to the people and does make for a robust democracy.
What is going on at the Local Government level in Nigeria is a mockery of democracy, there is urgent need for all stakeholders (Media, Political Parties, Critical election stakeholders) to work together purposefully to establish the needed environment for good governance to grow and save our people from bad leadership.
The State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) is the greatest electoral abracadabra (the more you look, the more you see nothing positive) imposed on our electoral Representative democracy and my appeal to all lawmakers is to work and use moral persuasion to birth a new effective administrative system for the Local Government tier in Nigeria, if by your commitment to rescue our people from this electoral rascality and by so doing if any governor feels aggrieved or seem to be more interested in Funds meant for the local government councils, let him resign and contest as LOCAL government Chairman and he or she should be assured of the support of all Nigerians. The bottom-line of my unrelenting Advocacy for a free, fair and credible electoral and management process is to draw the attention of all sundry to the fraudulent means of conducting our Local government elections Nigerian.
it is possible for other Political Parties to win Local Government elections if it is conducted under the right conditions of Free, fair and credible electoral atmosphere.
We can not continue with this charade called elections because that is why we now have MORIBUND local Government councils in Nigeria, There is no need deceiving ourselves by calling the charades elections. It should rather be called selection/imposition process and the governors should stop wasting tax payers monies conducting such sham of election because nowhere in the world the ruling government in the state will cruise away to victory with 99.99% contested seats.
If we cannot have free and fair elections at the LGA level, they rather adopt the selection method and save our funds and put it into more productive use like road construction, Schools and Hospitals. Just select your preferred candidates then announce winners and stop wasting taxpayers money. We go still accept the outcome of the process. We no get choice until the constitution is amended.
Amendment for the Local Government administration and elections laws can not be handled that easily because you need 2/3 of the State assemblies to endorse such amendments even if passed by the National Assembly and with the State assemblies practically in the pockets of the state Governors, it will not pass the approval test.
Local Government election is food for the boys of the Governor. it is the affirmation of the governors will and power. Na who dem approve dey win and na only the Party way the govern the state the fit win for local government elections.
States will not be arm twisted by the State Governors if we have free local Government election system in Nigeria.
We must place our focus on State to take over State assemblies or do something legally that can free the Local Government elections from the whims and caprices of the state emperors.
STATES INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION
- Section 7 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) relating to the place of Local Governments as the third tier of government should be amended to specifically guarantee the existence, establishment, structure, composition, finance, functions and tenure of Local Governments under the Constitution.
•Section 153, 197 and the third Schedule to the Constitution should be amended to provide for the following re-designation and re-ordering of States Independent Electoral Commission:
JOINT STATE/LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACCOUNT
- Section 162(5)-(7) of the Constitution should be amended to abolish the Joint State/Local Government Account.
•Section 162(5)-(7) of the Constitution should be further amended to provide that any amount standing to the credit of the Local Government Councils in the Federation Account should be paid directly to the various Local Governments.
•I also call for a robust National Electoral Reform conference.
PETER OJONUGWA AMEH
(2019 Presidential candidate,
Former National Chairman inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC)
and National Secretary, CUPP)