- Asks Kwara Governor to account for LG allocations since May 2019
Non-governmental organizations under the umbrella of Coalition of Civil Societies on Autonomy in Nigeria have called on the Kwara state government to as a matter of urgency conduct local government election.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday on behalf of the coalition, Coordinator, Media Advocacy and Technology Center, MATEC, Mr Musa Aliyu, said it is wrong and unconstitutional for the Governor of Kwara state to either constitute a Caretaker or Transition Committee or even run the affairs of the local councils with civil servants under the headship of the Director of Personnel Management (DPM) as presently being done in Kwara State.
According to the civil society organisations, elections into the office of a local government Chairman must be conducted not earlier than 60 days and not later than 30 days to the expiration of the present office holders’ tenure.
While explaining that the incumbent office holders were sworn into office on the December 01, 2018, Aliyu said the law stipulates that a fresh poll be held not earlier than October 01, 2020 and not later than November 01, 2020, a development he said is unlikely as there has been no plan yet to inaugurate Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission, KWASIEC.
“It is submitted that having regard to the provisions of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) and the Kwara State Local Government Electoral, Law we shall do the followings. Where the government refuses to reinstate the members of the illegally dissolved members of KWASIEC or constitutes a new one and inaugurate them on or before the 15th day of November, 2020, this illegality will be challenged in court immediately,” he said.
“It is also clear from the provisions of the law that any person who is a registered member of a political party cannot be member(s) or Chairman of the Commission, that the Governor of Kwara State having operated without democratically elected Councils for more than sixteen months, should set in motion immediately the machinery for the conduct of the Local Council election forthwith.
“it will be patently illegal for any Governor and specifically in this case, the Governor of Kwara State to either constitute a Care-taker committee or Transition committee or even run the council by Civil Servants under the headship of the Director, Personnel and Management (DPM) as presently being done in Kwara State.”
He added, “The laws regulating and governing the conduct of local government elections in Kwara State are the 1999 Constitution as amended and the Kwara State Local Government Electoral Law Cap K 32 of 2006, The 1999 constitution as amended provides in section 7 (1) as follows:- “The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this constitution guaranteed and accordingly the government of every state shall subject to section 8 of this constitution ensure their existence under a law which provides for the establishment structure composition, finance and functions of such councils’.”
The coalition while disclosing that a total sum of N40.42billion had accrued to the 16 LGs from the month of May 2019 to the month of September 2020 with no record of how it was spent, called on Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to account for the said sum.
The group vowed to go to court should the Kwara state governor fail to do as required by law.
“The government of Governor Abdulrahaman Abdulrazak must account for the sum of Forty One Billion, Two Hundred and Fifty One Million, Six Hundred and Twenty Thousand, Seven Hundred and Forty-Five Naira and sixty eight Kobo (N41,251,620,745.68) representing the allocations of the sixteen Local Government councils of Kwara State for past sixteen months (May, 2019-August, 2020).
“Where this is not done, individuals and group like our own, will be justified to go to appropriate court to compel the Governor to account for the money of the sixteen Local Government Councils of the State. That is exactly what we shall do unless the governor discharges the duty of accountability he owes the people immediately.” he said.