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Proposed Amendment To Local Govt Law Aims To Promote Effective, Efficient Grassroots Administration, Says Speaker Obasa

In a bid to allay the fears over possible bias in the implementation of the proposed amendment to the state Local Government Law, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa has stated that the proposed amendment is not meant to victimise or work against elected officials at the local government level.

Rt. Hon. Obasa gave this assurance on Monday, 18th April 2016 while speaking at a one day Stakeholders' Meeting on the proposed amendment to the state Local Government Law of 2015. The event took place at the Lateef Jakande Auditorium in the Assembly complex, Alausa Ikeja.

The Lagos Assembly Speaker was reacting to a portion of the amendment which gave the Assembly the power to remove any erring council chairman.

"The proposed amendment is not meant to victimise any council official rather it is meant to keep the officials on their toes all the time. Our aim is to achieve an effective and efficient governance at the grassroots level. A local government system we will all be proud of," the Lagos Assembly Speaker said.

He further informed the gathering, "We want the elected officials in our local governments to administer the councils in line with the provisions of the constitution".

According to him, lots of petitions have been received in the past, and even presently, against leaders of the local councils. He insisted that investigations conducted by the assembly over the years have shown that elected officials, particularly the Chairmen, have been running the councils in a way that did not promote peace, order and development at that level of governance.

"We are preparing the ground for election, we cannot continue witnessing the impunity of the past local government officials," the Speaker argued.

In his welcome address, the chairman of the House Committee on Local Government Administration and Community Affairs, Hon. Kazeem Alimi said the bill sought the extension of the tenure of council elected officials from three to four years. 

While explaining that the amendment was within the purview of the House, Alimi further stated that the proposed amendment intended to limit the number of terms the elected officials could be in office to two while also extending their tenure from three to four years.

However, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Lagos State expressed its opposition to the power of the Assembly to remove elected officials (Chairmen) of the councils. 

Addressing the meeting, the Legal Adviser of the party in the state, Mr Ademola Sadiq said that the council lawmakers (Councillors) should be the ones to remove their Chairmen from office instead of the House of Assembly.

He suggested that elected Councillors should enjoy unlimited number of terms to be spent in the parliament as being enjoyed by their colleagues in the state and federal levels.

A former Speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Jokotola Pelumi informed the stakeholders that the power to create and dissolve the local governments resided with the House of Assembly hence the Assembly has the power to remove any erring Councillor or chairman.

According to him, "the life and death of the local governments rest with the state Assemblies. it is not of their making but a power given to them by the constitution of the country, so there is nothing wrong in residing the power to remove any erring chairman in the state Assembly".

Musbau Rasak, 
Chief Press Secretary

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