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Senate Carpets Governors over Poor State of Local Government Administration in Nigeria

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

ABUJA, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Senate on Wednesday lamented the state of affairs of Local Government administration in the country principally caused by their indiscriminate dissolution and frequent replacement with caretaker committees by State Governors aside lack of financial autonomy.

It bemoaned that the trend had always resulted in low morale and poor performance of the councils to the detriment of the people at the grassroots.

The verdict came after an exhaustive debate on a motion moved by Senator Abdullahi Gumel (APC Jigawa North-East), on the worrisome state of local government councils in the country.

Senator Dino Melaye (APC Kogi West), while contributing to the motion, carpeted State Governors on council operations, which he said had had adverse effects on their workers and teachers because of councils’ inability to pay salaries as “satanic.”

He defied the instruction of the Deputy Senate President, Ike   Ekweremadu who presided over the debate, to withdraw a comment described as an unparliamentary language.

Melaye had described the activities of State Governors on council operations, which he said had had adverse effects on local government workers and teachers because of councils’ inability to pay salaries, as “satanic.”

The comment did not go down well with former Governors as the Minority Leader and a former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godwill Akpabio, raised a point of order, demanding for the withdrawal of the language.

But despite Ekweremadu’s insistence that Melaye should withdraw the language, he refused, insisting that looting of council funds which he said had deprived innocent persons of their means of livelihood was “satanic” as he cited the trend in his State, Kogi, where he said workers were paid 30 per cent of their monthly salaries after being owed a backlog of arrears as an attestation to the “satanic” acts he referred to.

But dissatisfied, Akpabio again raised another point of order, saying it was wrong of Melaye to generalise the description of Governors’ activities in local governments as satanic, noting that Akwa Ibom under his leadership conducted local government elections three times and also allowed councils to function effectively as he restated his position for the withdrawal of the language by Melaye.

But despite the persuasion by Ekweremadu that Melaye should withdraw the language, he refused, not even another point of order by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South), compelled him to change his mind.

Aside Melaye, Senators Joshua Lidani (PDP Gombe South) and Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC Niger North) and others, also blamed State Governors for failure of local government administration in the country.

They specifically submitted that the Governors use state/Local government joint account of their respective states to render the councils financially impotent and called for constitutional amendment to stop the terrible practice.

Consequently, the Senate mandated its Committee on States and Local Government to conduct a public hearing on the reforms meant to strengthen local government administration in Nigeria within the context of the 1999 Constitution of the Federation of Nigeria (as amended) and other extant laws.


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