Senate wants INEC to conduct local govt elections

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The Senate has voted to alter the 1999 Constitution in order to strip the states of power to constitute electoral commissions to conduct local government elections.

The alteration is part of constitutional reforms by the legislature to make local governments become independent of states.

The proposal became the 33rd item of the report on the bill to amend the 1999 Constitution presented by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu on Tuesday.

Mr. Ekweremadu's report originally had 32 items, including autonomy for local government areas.

But Dino Melaye, APC-Kogi, said allowing states to oversee conducts of local government elections make a mess of the call for autonomy. Instead, Mr. Melaye moved that the Independent National Electoral Commission should conduct the local elections.

"How do we speak of local government autonomy, without addressing the foundation," argued Mr. Melaye, in seeking states to be stripped of the power to constitute state electoral commissions to conduct local government elections.

Mr. Melaye's motion was adopted by his colleagues when put to voice vote called by Senate President Bukola Saraki.

Mr. Ekweremadu's report had only included proposal for democratically elected local councils, which can directly receive allocations from the federation accounts. In effect, the alteration bill seeks to abrogate the state-LG joint account system.

The bill also proposes that no local council should receive allocation except it is democratically constituted.

At the moment, many Nigerian states have caretaker committees in charge at local councils.

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