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State Electoral Commissions Should be scrapped – AGF Fagbemi

Attorney General of the Federation, Lateef Gagbemi, says there is the need for scrapping State Electoral Commissions, which he described as the main impediments to…

Attorney General of the Federation, Lateef Gagbemi, says there is the need for scrapping State Electoral Commissions, which he described as the main impediments to the development of local governments.

He said this at a one-day ‘Discourse on National Nigeria’s Security Challenges and Good Governance At the Local Government Levels” in Abuja on Monday.

The programme with the Theme: ‘Nigeria’s Security Challenges And Good Governance At The Local Government Levels’ was organised by the House of Representatives.

According to Fagbemi, governors have latched on to the inadequacies and lacunas in some sections of the 1999 Constitution to undermine and render local governments redundant.

He accused governors of exploring the weaknesses of Section 7(1); Section 83(3); Section 7(5) and others to impose their will on the local governments in the country.

Fagbemi noted that these inadequacies have allowed the governors to abuse the rights of local governments and in turn deprive people at the grassroots to feel their presence.

The Minister of Justice stated that the most prominent abuse of local government was the use of state electoral commissions to impose leaders at the local government levels through sham elections while most Governors only appoint caretaker leadership in their local governments.

He further noted that the abuse of States/ local governments joint accounts by state governors have imposed a fiscal emasculation which has rendered the local governments poor as the governors hold on to their federal allocations.

He therefore called for the scrapping of State Electoral Commissions in order to allow democracy to take its roots in the local governments.

He also called for a robust constitutional amendment that will remove all encumbrances hindering the development of local governments and their ability to fulfill their constitutionally recognized functions.

He said, “To achieve this, many experts have proposed that there is need for the scrapping of the state independent electoral commission. Their functions and powers should be transferred to the independent national electoral commission because the state independent electoral commission remain an appendage to every incumbent governor. This is perceived as the root cause of the problem of local government administration in Nigeria.”

Fagbemi’s comment comes after he filed a suit against governors at the Supreme Court, on behalf of the Federal Government.

He asked the Supreme Court to stop the remitting of local government funds to states and to stop the 36 state governments from the disbandment of elected local government chairmen and replacing them with caretaker committees.

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