By Mumini Abdulkareem
As the tenure of the suspended council chairmen in Kwara State expires this week, the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to immediately kick start process to conduct local government elections.
The party in a statement issued on Thursday by its State Publicity Secretary, Tunde Ashaolu, warned the governor against appointing caretaker committees for the councils, stressing that such action is unconstitutional, undemocratic, null and void.
“It is a public knowledge that the tenure of the suspended chairmen of all the 16 local government councils in Kwara State will expire on the 28 of November, 2020. We therefore call on Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to immediately initiate process to conduct elections that will usher in new chairmen, in accordance with the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Local governments are the closest to the people and are pivotal to guaranteeing effective governance and even development in any State. It is therefore important that the councils are run by persons with proven capacity, competence, integrity and are trusted by the people to do the job. The councils must not be left in the hands of charlatans that will be appointed by the governor and will only be there to do his biddings.
“The Kwara PDP on this note, warns Governor Abdulrazaq against appointing caretaker committee chairmen for the councils. It is unconstitutional, undemocratic, null and void, as ruled by the Supreme Court. The Court had declared that any local government council run by caretaker committee is illegal and unconstitutional.
“The Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) had in a letter, implored state governments to comply with the provisions of the Constitution with regard to the administration of local governments in line with the judgement of the Supreme Court. The AGF notified state governments of the illegality of running caretaker committees in place of elected officials at the local governments.
“Governor Abdulrazaq should for this reason, immediately begin the process of conducting council elections in no distant time and allow the people decide who to govern them at the local government level. He should be careful not to turn Kwara into a lawless State where there is no regard for the laws of the land, as exemplified by the illegal suspension of elected council chairmen and the blatant refusal of the Speaker of the State House of Assembly to obey court order, directing him to swear in Hon. AbdulRaheem Agboola as member of the House.
“Let it be noted that the people of Kwara State will reject any attempt to foist council chairmen on them. The rule of law and due process must strictly be followed in this case. Any action that will undermine our democracy will be vehemently rejected by our party and the people of the State,” the PDP said.
By Mumini Abdulkareem