By; Amos Tauna, Kaduna.
The Federal Government has been called upon to as a matter of urgency withhold the Kaduna State local government funds until democratically elected chairmen and coiuncillors are put in place.
The President, Kaduna State PDP Youth Patrotic Front, Comrade Danjuma Bello Sarki, told newsmen in Kaduna, Wednesday that failure to conduct local government council polls by any state government as at when due was a constitutional breach that should attract appropriate sanctions.
“We demand that the change government should as a matter of urgency change its ways, directing the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission to issue notice of election in accordance with the provisions of the Law.
“It is very evident that the APC government in Kaduna State is terribly afraid of conducting local government council elections because the embarrassing defeat that will befall it shall be monumental and a disgrace. Hence, the frivolous excuses they keep giving.
“We strongly condemn the perpetual refusal of the government to conduct local government council elections,” he explained.
The group noted that during the 2015 general gubernatorial campaigns in Kaduna State, Governor El-Rufai promised the electorate that if elected, local government election into the 23 councils of the state would be conducted within three months of his administration. “This he said is in fulfilment of his believe in democracy at all levels and the need to allow the people to democratically elect those they want to govern them at the lower level of government” he added.
“Suprisingly, on the 6th July, 2015 El-Rufai swore-in Interim Management committee Chairmen for the 23 Local Government Councils in the state, contrary to his earlier promise. He claimed to have acted under the provision of section 143) (a), (b) (c) and (d) of the Kaduna State government administration law, 2012 which empower the Governor and State House of Assembly to extend the tenure of elected local government councils after the expiration of their tenure or by extension, allow them to appoint trasnsitional councils or interim management committees.
“Under the law, if general elections into local government councils cannot hold before the expiration of their term, the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission is required to prepare a detailed report to that effect for the consideration and deliberation of the House of Assembly, if satisfied will advise the Governor to issue an order extending the tenure of the elected local government councils for ninety days to allow for elections,” he noted.
The group observed that the unconstitutionality and illegality of the appointment and inuguration of transition councils, interim management committees or caretaker committees or sole administrators or whatever guise, names or nomenclatures used to describe them as against democratically elected councils, had been settled in the constitutional jurisprudence section 1(2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
On the release of local government funds, the group said, “looking into the activities of the last interim management councils, it is apparant that the governor lied and made fallacious promises to the people. Throughout their tenure he did not for once release the local government funds for them directly, as it came from the federation account allocation committee.
“He has never remitted the 10 per cent of the state’s internally generated revenue to the local government areas as he pledged.
“It has become obvious that all the promises he made regarding local government areas during his campaigns till date were deceptive and false. Since the advent of this current democracy, the local government administration in Kaduna state has never been in a worse situation like it is today. A lot of staff have not been paid their salaries for months, even those that are paid, the payment has been irregular.
“We wish to state categorically that, the widely publicized so called local government autonomy granted by the Kaduna State government is nothing but a ruse, aimed at misleading the public in order to score cheap political goal by Malam Nasiru El-Rufai.
“We hereby, challenge the government to publicly publish the monthly local government by local government details of the amount of money that has accrued to the 23 local government areas in the last nine months and that of the SURE-P funds, as a sign of transparency and accountability he professed,” he querried.
The group lament, “we wish to state emphatically that, no matter the number of times local government administration law is amended, it will still be inconsistent with the provision of Section 1 (2) and Section 7 (1) of the constitution of Nigeria, 1999.”
The group expressed dismay that the current Deputy Governor, Arc. Barnabas Bala Bantex, who was a vocal advocate of local government autonomy when he was a member of the House of Representatives, has suddenly become cold and a direct accomplice in the brutal subjugation and enslavement of local governments in the state.