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Legislator calls for scrapping of state electoral commissions

Lokoja – Mr Sunday Shigaba, member representing Bassa state constituency in Kogi House of Assembly, has called on the Federal Government to scrap the various State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIEC).

Shigaba made the call while speaking at a workshop on Budget and Accountability Training for Kogi Assembly members on Monday in Lokoja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was organised by the Budget Monitoring and Accountability Group (B-MAG) with support from ActionAid Nigeria.

The legislator urged the federal government to return the mandate to conduct Local Government Council elections to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for such elections to be credible.

He said until the law ceding the conduct of council elections to the various SIEC’s was removed and the responsibility returned to INEC, “we cannot get it right at the councils level”.

He said that the elections being midwifed by SIEC’s into the councils in most states were mere appointments and not democratic elections as provided for by the constitution.

He pointed out that most of the SIEC officials were appointees of the government in power in the respective States.

“Until INEC takes over the conduct of Local Government council elections in this country, imposition of candidates and appointment of loyalists to oversee the affairs of the councils will not stop.”

Shigaba also said that it was unconstitutional and illegal to have care-taker committees or whatever names they might be called to oversee local government councils.

Also speaking on the matter, Mr Obo Effanga, Governance Programme Manager with ActionAid Nigeria, described the practice of constituting care-taker committees to run local councils as an aberration and infringement of the constitution.

“The situation is so bad that not more than 12 states in the country presently have democratically elected council members in place.

“Meanwhile, funds continue to illegally accrue to the care-taker committees without recourse to the legislative assemblies for appropriation,” Effanga said.

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