LG autonomy not possible unless SIECs are abrogated – Ex-INEC official

Retired director of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Chief Mathias Ogbonnaya Ude, has asserted that there could be no true local government autonomy unless the law establishing State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs), were abrogated.

Ude who said this in an interview noted that so long as the governors were the ones appointing members of State Independent Electoral Commission, SIEC, there could be no true autonomy for the local government.

He said the governors were too powerful and would always make sure that their party won the council elections in their state which is against true democracy.

He lamented that it was the military in collaboration with INEC officials that instituted that states should be conducting local government elections instead of being centrally done by INEC as was practised in the past.

According to him, local government council chairmen could not perform optimally because the governors would continue to control them.

Chief Ude pointed out that in their day, they made every effort to resist the idea but were prevented, noting that Nigeria could move on unless the electoral system was corrected.

He said that unless INEC conducts election for every stratum, one party would continue to be winning local government elections leaving no room for the opposition to win.

“Go to Abuja, Abuja has six municipal erea councils and since 1999, no one party has won all the municipal councils.”

He posited that should INEC conduct council elections, governors will lose control of the local government.

“When this is done, there is no way the governor will have his way and control everything. Now the governors have so much powers and can do anything they like. Governors in the states are like gods. They can do anything.  If you joke with a governor you are finished. The governors are in charge but that is not what those who wrote the Constitution wanted.”