Nigeria Newspapers

Let INEC take over conduct of council elections, NGO tells FG

Woman and Family Advancement Initiative (WAFAI), an NGO, has called on the Federal Government to allow the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct national, state and local government elections.

Mr PaulChuks Umenduka, Director, Anambra Chapter of WAFAI, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.

He said that reverting to the former arrangement whereby INEC was in charge of the conduct of elections from national to local governments was the only solution to end the hijack of allocations due the councils by the governors.

“Before, the national electoral body was in-charge of the conduct of local, state and national elections.

“Some people came up with the agitation that the states with their concurrent powers should be responsible for the supervision of the local government areas with residual power.

“They insisted that states should set up the electoral commissions to conduct elections at the local government levels.

“Today, we have seen how many past and present governors have messed up that power thereby hijacking the allocations due the councils.”

Umenduka, whose group had been involved in capacity building and election monitoring in Anambra and other states of Southern Nigeria for about ten years, attributed a lot of problems in the country to non-functionality of the third tier of government.

According to him, the spark in insecurity, youth unemployment and rise in rural/urban migration are largely caused by dearth of local government administration.

He maintained that compelling various state governors to conduct local elections using the state electoral commissions was mere window dressing.

“When you ask the state governors to conduct local government elections, what they merely do is to put their in-laws, friends and party cronies as chairmen and councilors,” he said.

Umenduka who emphasised the importance of local government in a democratic setting, said President Bola Tinubu should revive the local government administration if he wanted to tackle the menace of unemployment and insecurity

On the establishment of state police, Umenduka said the move was a welcome one as such institution would help reduce crimes.

He said the National Assembly should, before enacting the law for the establishment of state police, should consider clauses that would checkmate abuses of the institution by the governors.

“Nigeria, is no doubt, under policed and I am one of the persons in full support of the creation of state police; though I am of the view that strong law must be made to avoid abuse by the governors and other big people,” he said.