State governors have almost ruined the functions of the third tier of government, which is the local government. They have extended their powers to the local government level, thereby denying citizens the opportunity to elect their representatives at the grassroot level.
Today, governors determine what goes to the local governments despite the fact that the council areas have their allocations from the Federal Government. It is undemocratic for state governors to be usurping the functions of local government chairmen through their proxies, who they appoint in order to have total control. In some local government areas today, the appointed council chairmen cannot undertake meaningful projects without the approval of the state government, and this is a great disservice to the tenets of democracy.
Citizens who practice politics at the local level have, as a result, seen democratic rights taken away from them since they cannot stand for election or elect candidates of their choice.
If we are, therefore, to sustain democracy in the country, a thriving local government system must be functional, that is, one where democratic rules are followed.
Consequently, it is necessary that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) take over the conduct of elections into local governments, or that the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) be empowered to conduct elections into local government for a term of three years without the influence of state governments.
- Bamidele Bayode,