A stunning revelation was made by the Chairman of Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission, SIEC ,Dr. Hanatu Biniyat today when she said two states, namely Borno and Anambra have not conducted elections into local government councils since 1999.Chairman of Kaduna state SIEC made this disclosure at roundtable on ‘Entrenching Democratic Governance in the Constitutional Review Process’ held at Sheraton Hotel , Abuja.It was organized by Dr Jibrin Ibrahim -led Centre for Democracy and Development,CDD.The Kaduna state SIEC ‘Chairman’ said she was also speaking in her capacity as national secretary of the forum of SIEC.
She made this remark while responding to some of the issues raised on the floor especially a claim by an official of NULGE who said only Twelve states have so far conducted elections into the local councils awhile others were run by caretaker committee.Kaduna SIEC boss said the exact number of states that have conducted elections to councils was about fourteen.But Femi Falana, SAN noted that even in those fourteen states,they were not well conducted elections.Falana told the participants that there was the need to take the campaigns to the state level.
The Kaduna SIEC boss earlier stunned the crowd when she added that states such as Bauchi, Kano,Osun,Rivers,Delta were yet to establish their commission.
Former Chief Justice of the Federation, Muhammed Uwais who was chairman of the occasion lamented the deplorable state of local government administration in the country.Local councils are not functioning and where they seem to be functioning, they are under the whims and caprices of the state governors, he said.
Also, there was a good will message from a representative of the Country Representative of UNDP who said strengthening the local government through the constitutional review is a key first step.The UNDP representative also noted that the rising phenomenon of urbanization required improved urban governance system and that constitutional review process required consistent involvement of the stakeholders, especially the voiceless.
Speaking on the occasion , Nkoyo Toyo,member of the House of Representatives also revealed that national assembly was always split in the middle each time issues bordering devolution of powers came up for discussion.There appears to be the attitude on the floor that nothing about devolution will pass through as there are always people who would block it,she noted.
She called for lobby on issue ,use of technology and more knowledge- based campaign to tackle the issues.The lawmaker said for democratic local governance to make sense, it has to be about development.
Shortly after we posted the story, one of our columnists, a UK- based Nigerian sent in his brief reaction/point of correction
It’s Not True-Says UK-Based Nigerian
For anyone reading this news may think it was true but far from it the claim was wrong as regards Borno State. I can say without any contradiction that local government elections has been held in Borno State up until after the SIEC office was razed down by boko haram members in 2009. There were many local government chairmen that were elected and served for two years each under the administrations of late governor Mala Kachalla as well as during the government of Ali Modu Sherrif.
Therefore this claim by Dr Hanatu Biniyat contains a number of misleading statements that made erroneous assumptions and it needs to be corrected.
Abba Mohammed Bashir Shuwa