The Chairman, Senate Committee on State and Local Government Affairs, Sen. Abdullahi Abubakar, over the weekend said provision has been made in the ongoing Constitution amendment process to totally abolish the contentious joint account between states and local governments.
Senator Abubakar said the lawmakers also plan to abolish States Independent Electoral Commissions.
He said that the decision was taken at a recent retreat in Lagos by Speakers of State Houses of Assembly and Members of the House of Representatives.
Abubakar explained that the decision was taken to strengthen local government administration, for optimal performance.
The Senator said that the National Assembly was working tirelessly to dialogue with State Governors to allow local governments operate independently.
Abubakar said it was unfortunate that only 10 out of 36 states in the country had conducted election into local government councils.
“This means that 75 per cent of the local government leadership in the country occupy the offices unconstitutionally and not elected
“From my tour to some local governments, the third tier of government has been rendered useless, empty, and nothing meaningful is happening at the grassroots government.’’
He said a stronger local government administration would impact more positively in local areas, help tackle rural-urban drift and rising security challenges.
“If our local governments function well, the youths in the areas would leave their houses and go to work and return home without any problem,” he said.
Abubakar, who is also a member of Constitution Amendment Committee, said SIECs would be abolished to guarantee free, fair, credible and acceptable election at the local level.
“It will be the responsibility of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct local government polls.
“We are doing all these so that political parties can vie for positions freely during local government elections without any fear of intimidation by the ruling party in a state.
“We have made far reaching changes in the spirit of the change mantra of President Muhammadu Buhari,’’ Abubakar said.