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HomePoliticsS'Court ruling: How LG autonomy can make meaning--- ex-PDP chair

S’Court ruling: How LG autonomy can make meaning— ex-PDP chair

S'Court ruling: How LG autonomy can make meaning--- ex-PDP chair

S’Court ruling: How LG autonomy can make meaning— ex-PDP chair

A former Lagos PDP Chairman, Otunba Segun Adewale (aka Aeroland) says Supreme Court’s ruling granting local government autonomy wont change status quo if state electoral commissions are still conducts council elections.

Adewale made this remark in an interview with newsmen while reacting to the Thursday’s Supreme Court’s ruling granting full autonomy to the local governments.

The Apex Court ruled in favour of full financial autonomy for the 774 local government councils in the country.

In the landmark judgment, the court ordered the Federal Government to immediately start direct payment of local governments’ funds to the latter’s exclusive accounts.

Reading the lead judgment, Justice Emmanuel Agim decried the decades-long refusal of state governments to allow financial autonomy for local governments in their respective states.

Justice Agim noted that the 774 local government councils in the country,constitutionally, should have the freedom to manage their funds themselves.

Reacting, Adewale, the 2023 PDP Lagos West Senatorial District Candidate, said though the ruling was good but it would not yield desired results with the current political system.

He said: “It is still the same result we will get unless we change the process of selecting the local government chairmen and allow INEC to be conducting council poll.

“As long as state Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) are still saddled with the responsibility of conducting local government elections, this LG autonomy will make no sense nor yield results.

“If the local government chairmen and councillors get to office as a way of reward from party leaders and governors, whatever funds they received directly from the federation account will still find its way back to the governor who put them.

“So, even though the autonomy is giving to the LGs, they will still report back to the governor or risk being reelected

“If we want to really get the desired results, let us make the seat democratically competitive, then the funds that come directly to the council will work for the grassroots.”

The PDP chieftain, who noted that he was not moved by the judgement, said the without total revamp of the Nigeria’s electoral processes and democratic system, many of the reforms would not yield positive fruits.

According to him, a situation where the ruling party in each state wins all council seats in Local Government Election does not show democracy in practice.

“We are not saying INEC is perfect but there will be a semblance of democracy when one of two other political parties wins with the chairmen’s seat or councillorship seats.

“In a local government elections where results are written by the sitting governors through state electoral commissions, of what sense is this court imposed autonomy?

“When the governors decide who to be chairman of each local government, such person will still be responsible to the person that appointed him regardless of this autonomy, not to the people,” he added.

Recalls that Thursday’s ruling followed a legal action instituted by the Federal Government against the governors of the 36 states of the federation at the Supreme Court over what it called their interference in the administration of local councils in their respective states.

The suit filed by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, sought full autonomy for all local government councils in the country.

In the suit, the Federal Government specifically prayed the court to issue an order, prohibiting state governors from embarking on unilateral, arbitrary and unlawful dissolution of democratically elected local government leaders.

The suit also asked for an order permitting the funds standing in the credits of local governments to be directly channelled to them from the Federation Account, in line with the provisions of the constitution as against the alleged unlawful joint accounts created by governors.

FG also prayed the Supreme Court for an order stopping governors from further constituting caretaker committees to run the affairs of local governments as against the constitutionally recognized and guaranteed democratic system.

It equally applied for an order of injunction restraining the governors, their agents and privies from receiving, spending or tampering with funds released from the federation account for the benefits of local governments when no democratically elected local government system is put in place in the states.






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