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Local Govt Autonomy:Owie Urges State Legislatures to Allign With Position of NASS

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…Support Scrapping of SIECs

By Chibuike Nwabuko

Abuja (Sundiata Post)- Senator Roland Owie has called on the state legislators to throw their weights behind the position of National Assembly to get the required two-third support of 36 states required to grant autonomy to local government councils.

Owie, who is also the Chairman of the National Contact Committee of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), also urged them to also vote in support of the scrapping of State Independent Electoral Commissions(SIECs)which has become a stooge for state governors.

He made the call in  Abuja on Saturday ahead of the consideration of the constitution amendment bill by the State Houses of Assembly.

The statement reads in full:

Chairman of the National Contact Committee of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Senator Roland Owie, has called on well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the various state legislatures to concur with National Assembly’s decision to grant autonomy to local government councils in the country.

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Owie’s call was contained in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja ahead of the consideration of the constitution amendment bill by the State Houses of Assembly.

The bill had already been passed by the National Assembly, preparatory to concurrence by two-thirds of the 36 state assemblies to become law.  Failure to secure two-thirds will result in the defeat of any provisional amendment.

The former chief whip of the Senate (1999 to 2003) also urged for concurrence to scrap state independent electoral commissions (SIECs) and thus enable the independent national electoral commission (INEC) to henceforth conduct local government elections.

SIECs, under the control of state government, have been conducting local government elections in the states since 1999 and the ruling parties in the respective states have always won virtually all the chairmanship and council seats.

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Owie said that the SIECs, as of today, “are worst than the Fulani herdsmen and deadly kidnappers”, and called on Nigerians to note that the absence of democracy at the grassroots is tantamount to impunity at the centre.

He further stated that “democracy in Nigeria cannot develop without autonomous LGA Structure, as was the case during General Sani Abacha regime.

“As of today, State Governments have pocketed SIECs and Local Government Councils and this situation must not be allowed to continue.”

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