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Monday, July 15, 2024

INEC has no power to conduct LG election -Yakubu

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says the commission has no constitutional power to conduct local council elections except in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Yakubu said this on the sidelines of a two-day induction retreat for INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), on Monday in Lagos.

Reacting to the agitation seeking constitutional backing for INEC to be saddled with the responsibility of conducting local council elections, Yakubu described it as ‘a constitutional matter’.

According to Yakubu, unless necessary constitutional amendments are made, the commission will only continue to organise national and state elections.

“The same section of the constitution that establishes INEC also establishes the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) and we cannot take over their duties.

“It is good for people to engage in advocacy for INEC to take charge of the whole elections, but the constitution has to be amended for that to happen.

“For now, INEC can only conduct the local government elections in the Federal Capital Territory with six area council chairmen and 62 councillors.

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“And it is in the FCT that the conduct of council elections has been regular and we are proud that the conduct of the elections there has been done to the best of our capacity.

“So, we are encouraged by what we have done, but as for taking over the state elections, the constitution has to be amended, and we are not there yet,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some Nigerians are canvassing for the dissolution of the SIECs in the ongoing constitutional amendment, to pave way for INEC to take charge of local government elections.

The proponents believe that state governors were hijacking local councils’ allocation due to irregularities in the conduct of the LG polls.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), had in March this year called for the scrapping of SIECs.

Fagbemi said that SIEC’s function should be transferred to INEC, to ensure independence and transparency in the outcome of local government elections in the country. (NAN)

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