Say this is the only way to deepen the federal structure democracy

The House of Representatives, on Thursday, inched closer to its proposal to ban local government caretaker committees across the country by reading the second time a bill seeking mandatory and unified schedule for bye elections.

The change is to be part of the ongoing constitutional amendment, and lawmakers believe it will wrest the third tier of government from the grip of overbearing governors who now control every affair at that level in violation of the constitution.

If successful, the amendment will make it mandatory for elections to be held to the offices of the chairmen and councillors of local government councils at specific times, giving no room for caretaker committees perpetually installed by the governors.

The bill passed a second reading on Thursday after debates.

The sponsor, Ali Ahmad (Kwara/PDP), said the amendment will deepen Nigeria’s federal structure democracy. “We have as many as 25 states whose local government councils do not have democratically elected chairmen,” he said.

Currently, similar committees are in place in Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Bornu, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Yobe and Zamfara.

Lawmakers have said the caretaker committees are illegal, but it remains to be seen how the bill will scale through at state Houses of Assembly where the governors wield much power.

Members opposed to the legislation say legislating for the local government was not under the jurisdiction of the National Assembly.

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