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No vacuum in Lagos councils, say lawmakers

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LAGOS – Two members of the Lagos State House of Assembly (LAHA)  on Thursday said that the expiration of the tenure of council chairmen in the state did not create any administrative vacuum.

The legislators said in Lagos that council managers had been ensuring continuity in the day- to-day running of the local councils in spite of the exit of the chairmen.

The legislators –  Mr Dayo Fafunmi and Mr Segun Olulade – spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Fafunmi is the Chairman of the House Committee on Public Account, while Olulade is the Chairman, House Committee on Information and Publicity.

NAN reports that the state Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola had on Sept. 29 directed council chairmen and councillors to vacate their offices following expiration of their tenure on the same day.

Fashola directed the elected officials to handover to council managers.

He promised that council elections would be conducted in the state after distribution of permanent voter cards and continuous voter registration.

Lagos State has 20 local government areas and 37 local council development areas.

Fafunmi said: “What we are seeing in the local governments is not new.

“The intention of the state government is to ensure free and fair elections; so, there is no vacuum in the councils.”

The lawmaker claimed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had not been able to produce an updated register for the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) to adopt to conduct council polls.

“There cannot be any credible elections in the councils, except LASIEC gets an up-to- date voters’ register from INEC.

“In addition to that, we do not want to disenfranchise people who were 15 years in 2011 and are now 18 years old.

“If LASIEC uses the old register, it will prevent a lot of people from voting, and it is their constitutional right to vote for whom they want.

“In the past, the state government used to appoint executive secretaries to take over from outgoing local government chairmen, but it is not the case now.

“You cannot appoint an executive secretary or anybody as the executive head of any council area without an enabling law,’’ he said.

Also, Olulade told NAN that council elections in the state were delayed to allow effective participation of the residents.

“I think we are doing the needful because Lagos residents are yet to obtain the permanent voters’ cards, and that is what LASIEC can use to conduct credible local government elections,” he said.

NAN reports that INEC will distribute permanent voter cards in Lagos from Friday to Sunday. The commission will also embark on continuous voter registration in the state from Nov. 12 to Nov. 17.

The state government has declared Friday a work-free day to enable its workers to obtain the cards. (NAn)

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