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A non-governmental organisation, Global Society for Anti-Corruption (GSAC), has faulted the decision of Anambra state governor, Prof. Charles Soludo, to appoint caretaker committees for the local government councils in the state.
In a statement signed by the organisation’s Country Director, Mrs Amaka Nweke and made available to Daily Sun, the group asked the governor to jettison the decision and conduct local government council polls.
It reminded the governor that local council polls have not been conducted in the state for the past 10 years, a development it described as very appalling. It drew the governor’s attention to the 1999 constitution as amended, which recognised the three-tier of government in Nigeria and noted that denying the citizens of the state the opportunity to elect councilors to govern their affairs is akin to denying them the exercise of their constitutional rights.
“If indeed, we are faithful to the letters of that constitution, then we should allow democracy operate at the grassroots by instituting electoral process at that level,” GSAC stressed.
The group wants Soludo to know that “its position is supported by sections 7 and 8 of the constitution which empower states to conduct council elections and grant full autonomy to local governments to enable them function effectively. So negating this aspect is like rejecting that which he professed to preserve.”
It blamed lack of healthy competition, the imposition of leaders through appointment on the people and corruption for the poor performance of the local government councils over the years. The statement read in part: “We want to state that we totally reject caretaker committees for local government affairs. It is unconstitutional and unacceptable to continue to allow poor representation of the only arm of government that is closer to our people.
“Our rural areas are a key component of government and development. Our communities in the various rural areas form the building blocks of local government and you cannot talk about overall development without the communities.
“Periodic elections at that level ensure accountability; it breeds competition and promotes sense of belonging. We will be promoting healthy competition among the various segments when we encourage elections.
“We think that Governor Soludo should change this mantra and strive to deepen our democracy by the infusion of periodic electoral process at the third tier.”