The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, passed for second reading a bill seeking to outlaw caretaker committees in the administration of local government areas in the country.
The proposed legislation entitled “a bill for an act to alter section 7 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended)” is sponsored by Dachung Bagos.
It is also seeking to remove local government administration from the control of state governors.
Dagos, who represents Jos South/ Jos East Federal Constituency of Plateau State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in his lead debate, said the proposed legislation is aimed at instilling democracy at the local government level.
According to him, “essentially, this bill seeks to provide for election and tenure of office for local government chairmen/councilors and also prescribe mode of exercising legislative powers of the local government council.
“It seeks amongst other things to alter section to alter section 7 (1) of the principal act by substituting section 7 (1) with new section 7 (1) (a)–(2) to provide for the office of the chairman and vice chairman of local government as stipulated in the bill”
Bagos noted that it was undemocratic for governors to unilaterally appoint local government chairmen and councilors, rather than allow the people to choose their leaders through democratically conducted elections.
The lawmaker argued that when passed into law, the bill will put an end to the practice whereby state governors dismiss and appoint local government chairmen at will without recourse to the law.
He added that “This law will put paid to the present practice whereby local government chairmen are appointed by governors. It will make it mandatory for council officials to emerge through election. We have to make sure we have a democratic third tier of government.”
After the bill scaled through second reading, the speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, who presided over Tuesday’s plenary, referred it to the Committee on Review of the 1999 constitution.