The Niger state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has condemned the appointment and inauguration of caretaker committees to run the affairs of the 25 local government areas of the state.
This was contained in a press statement issued in Minna yesterday by the APC State Publicity Secretary Mr Jonathan Vatsa describing the action of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led government of Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu as not only unconstitutional but a naked show of impunity, a trademark that has become the identity of the ruling party in the state.
“We view the excuse of closeness to 2015 general elections advanced by Governor Aliyu as the reason for the non-conduct of elections into the 25 local government councils untenable and unacceptable. We ask, whose responsibility it is to conduct local government elections and general elections? Is it that of the governor?”
Vatsa challenged the Niger State Independent Electoral Commission (NSIEC), the statutory body saddled with the duty of conducting the elections into the councils to come out and tell the people of Niger state why it cannot conduct local government election having known that council’s life span is only 3 years.
He explained that Governor Aliyu was afraid of going into Local Government elections for fear of defeat, hence the appointment of an unconstitutional caretaker committees to continue to do his bidding and to use them for rigging in 2015 general elections. “the Chief Servant should be told that he will meet his political waterloo at the polls as the people of the state have come to realize that the last over 7 years has been deceitful.
“All Progressives Congress is ready for local government election and demanded that NSIEC should do what is right by conducting elections to the 274 wards and 25 local government councils of the state now.
Responding, Publicity Secretary of PDP Alhaji Mohammed Hassan Saba, stated that the APC have no knowledge of the local government law, because the 2001 Niger state local government law section 97 as amended gave the Government the authority to appoint caretaker chairmen.
“Their tenure has expired and they can not continues, it is not even in our advantage to dissolve them if not by law to do so the, Governor acted accordance to the law” Saba stated.
Meanwhile, Chief Press Secretary to the Niger State Governor, Israel Ebije while reacting to the statement by the APC said, “For emphasis sake, Niger state has broken record as one of the few states in the federation that has conducted elections for local governments since the past 7 years. Dr. Aliyu’s administration has always advocated for democratic local government and have been consistent in its position in that direction.”
“Niger state government indeed remains a leading example when it comes to true tenets of democratization of local government up to ward level in Nigeria since 2007.”
Ebije said the inauguration of caretaker committee chairmen to oversee affairs of local governments in Niger state upon expiration of the term of the immediate past leadership is within the ambit of the law adding that the state government has not breached the constitution.
Ebije stated the APC should be thankful to the Aliyu led administration for insisting that every eligible voter have a permanent voters card before any election is conducted in the state to prevent a situation voters would be disenfranchised.