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BREAKING: ALGON faults Rivers lawmaker’s position on LG chairmen’s appointment

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The Secretary General of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria, Mohammed Abubakar, has faulted the River State House of Assembly lawmakers for stopping Governor Siminalayi Fubara from appointing the local government caretaker committee.

The lawmakers had on January 26 passed into law the bill that stripped the governor of the power to appoint local government caretaker committee.

This indicates that the governor will have to conduct an election at the end of the tenure of the current officials which will expire within the first quarter of this year.

In an interview with Abubakar said the lawmakers, “shot themselves in the leg” by creating the law.

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He added that they had created an opportunity for the governor to run the local government without appointing caretaker chairmen.

He said, “With the situation, there is no plan by the state electoral commission to conduct an election because there would have been preparation if the commission was ready, and I don’t know if there is a provision of it in the budget.

“If there is no provision, this means the lawmakers have successfully played into the governor’s hand because now, there will be no caretaker chairman, supervisor and councillors. They have succeeded in giving the governor a freehand to run the council.

“Also, had it been that they allowed the governor to appoint a caretaker chairman, there would be an opportunity as it were for each lawmaker to lobby for a slot for their loyalists, but with what they have done, the governor will shut that opportunity against them. So, they shot themselves in the leg.”

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However, a human rights lawyer, Tolu Babaleye, disagreed with the ALGON secretary general, saying the lawmakers were only complimenting the provision of the 1999 Constitution.

He added that it is unconstitutional for governors to appoint caretaker chairmen or run the local government without conducting elections.

He said, “On a good day, under section 7 of the constitution, the government of every state must ensure democratically elected local government chairmen.

“There is nowhere it is stated in the constitution that a governor should appoint a caretaker or anybody to run local government administration.

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“It is a constitutional aberration. If the House of Assembly has promulgated a law in that regard, they are complementing what the constitution has stated.”

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