Yiaga Africa advocates 4-year tenure for local govt chairmen, councillors

Yiaga Africa advocates 4-year tenure for local govt chairmen, councillors
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By Oluwatope Lawanson

Yiaga Africa, an NGO, has called for a four-year tenure for elective positions in Local governments to ensure uniformity in terms of office at states and federal levels in Nigeria.

Cynthia Mbamalu, Director of Programmes, Yiaga Africa, made the call at an Advocacy Roundtable tagged: “Legislative Reforms for Enhancing Local Government Elections”, in Lagos on Tuesday.

“We want government to create a form of uniformity across every states to ensure local government elective positions would be for a four-year tenure like the president as well as governors.

“This will also ensure that state governors do not have the right to decide whether to hold elections or not.

“Aside Lagos State and few others that hold periodic local government elections, some states have not had elections for over 10 to 15 years.

“They’d rather have caretaker committees and no elected officials at the local government level which should not be encouraged,” she said.

Mbamalu also highlighted some other legislative reform to ensure enhanced and quality local government elections.

She stressed on the need for Electoral Act 2022 to be amended.

It currently provides that LG elections should be conducted in line with the provision of the electoral act that regulates area council elections.

“It is imperative that a clear timeline for election is guaranteed whereby every four years there is local government election across all local governments in the country.

“We propose that there is clear timeline not earlier than 360 days notice to elections in order to ensure proper planning, engagements and sensitisation by State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs),” she said.

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She urged government to give SIECs quality funding to enable proper planning and early voter education through sensitisation on all forms of media/social media platforms so as to avoid voter apathy.

Earlier, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi (Founding Director, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), called for a reform of the local government structure to allow a more independent body of judges or non-partisan Nigerians to conduct local government elections.

Akiyode-Afolabi, who was represented by Mr Uche George of WARDC, said this in her address titled: ”Local Government Elections, a Necessity for Democratic Development”.

According to her, logistical challenges, inadequate voter education and voter processes are some of the issues for electoral reforms engagements.

She also proposed a constitutional reform to enable local government to have full autonomy, in terms of management of finance, elections, in order to ensure impactful service delivery.

Also, Mr Stanley Kuti, Director, Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), called for collaborations with stakeholders and the need for active sensitisation to avoid voter apathy.

On her part, Mrs Temilola Akinade, IPAC Chair, urged LASIEC to make accessible the commission’s Law to all political parties and the citizens so as to be informed of their guidelines, rules and regulations.

Speaking, Mr Oladipo Ajomale, Lagos State House of Assembly member representing Oshodi/Isolo constituency, stated that processes were ongoing on making the Laws of Lagos State accessible online to all citizens.

Ajomale, also the Chairman, committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Public Petitions and LASIEC, said Nigerians should be well informed and up-to-date on all informations regarding their state and by extension the country. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Dianabasi Effiong

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