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8 Nov 2017

Despite N450m Approved for LG Elections, Governor Bello Says Local Government Election will Not Hold

Local government election will not hold in Kogi state as the Governor has requested an extension of the tenure of caretaker committees for another six months.
Governor Yahaya Bello
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state has again written the House of Assembly asking it to extend the tenure of caretaker committees for the second time despite the N450 million captured in the 2017 budget for the conduct of local government elections in Kogi State.

Bello said the local government election cannot go on because of lack of funds and insecurity. According to Punch, his request was consequently granted by the Kogi State House of Assembly as the House extended the tenure of the LG transition committee till April 2018.

But many people have wondered what happened to the N450 million earmarked for the elections in the 2017 budget by the state. The tenure of the local government transition committees had expired on November 5. Deliberating on the matter on the House floor on Wednesday, Hon. Kekere Sanni (APC Okehi), while supporting the request, said the reasons itemised by the executive were enough to give an express passage to the request, as the state has adopted “principle of necessity.”

John Abba ( APC Ibaji constituency) reminded the House that N450m was captured for the conduct of local government elections in the 2017 budget, and wondered why the executive failed to adopt the resolution of the House when it first extended the administrators’ tenure.

He called on the House to, at all times, promote, protect and fight for democracy, saying there is no substitute.

He advised the House that the six-month extension should mean that within the six months, elections should be conducted by State Independent Electoral Commission and a democratically elected council sworn in.

According to him, “Provision was made in the 2017 budget. I think if we refresh our memory, the issues raised by the executive is crucial.

“My main concern is not just extending their tenure, because either we like it or not, caretaker committee is illegal.

“The Supreme Court has confirmed it. It is appalling that majority of the state in Nigeria are operating under caretaker committees, which is illegal, uncalled for and should be condemned.

“We want to make it known to the executive that if this is granted, we can no longer continue in illegality. No more extension.

“In their own contributions, Majority leader Bello Abdullahi (APC Ajaokuta) and Linus Eneche (APC Olamaboro) both aligned that local government was created to bring the government closer to the people, hence the need not to create any vacuum in the interest of Kogi people."

Lending his voice to the deliberation, the member representing Bassa Constituency, who is also the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Sunday Shigaba, said the House gave the approval to allow the SIEC to properly prepare for the council election.

“What is happening in the House is between law and reality. “Interim government or whatever you call it is illegal.

“It has become practically impossible for the state government to conduct election as at when due.

“Whether we like it or not, we can’t compel the executive to conduct election before the close of the year, given the time frame that is available to us.”

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