Plateau: Advocates condemn extension of appointed LG chairmen, urges Lalong to conduct polls

By Pwanagba Agabus, Jos

A group under the aegis of Jos South Advocates for Democracy and Good Governance on Monday condemned the extension of tenure of four appointed caretaker chairmen in Plateau State by six months by the State House of Assembly.

The group also called on Governor Simon Lalong and the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) to conduct elections in Riyom, Jos South, Barkin Ladi and Jos North LGAs.

Adding that the 2019 general elections were conducted in the aforementioned councils peacefully and wondered why insecurity would be hinged upon as a reason for not conducting polls in the LGAs.

It would be recalled that Lalong had on 9th October, 2019, swore in four management committee chairmen who were chairmanship candidates of the ruling APC in the four aforementioned councils where elections were not conducted in the 2018 Local Government polls.

It would also be recalled that
the assembly had approved three months for the management committee chairmen and urged the executive to conduct polls in the localities; also on the 24th December, 2019, ten APC legislators extended the tenure of the four caretaker chairmen by six months; a move the PDP members in the House rejected.

The PDP lawmakers led by Sohchang Zimgtim, who is the Minority Whip of the Assembly, had while reacting described the move as unconstitutional and deliberate attempt to deny the people of the areas the rights to vote their representatives.

“We the PDP members in the Assembly have rejected the appointment in the first place and we are again saying no to what transpired at plenary.

“The move is against the constitution and as lawmakers we are expected to adhere to the rule of law,” he said.

Reacting on behalf of the group, its chairman, Rwang Joseph Dung said, “The action of our APC dominated State House of Assembly on Christmas eve was provocative and proof that these crop of state legislators are only interested their welfare and not that of the people of the state.

“May we advise Governor Simon Lalong here that he should not allow bad advisers to push him into taking actions or decisions such as this that has denied the peace loving people of Jos South, his host community from having democratically elected chairman and counselor in place for almost 5 years now.

The group also reminded the Governor of a recent Supreme Court judgment by Justice Olubolade Joe, which has barred State Governors and State legislators the powers to sack local government chairmen.

It reads: “No state governor will henceforth have powers to sack duly elected local government chairmen, and appointment of caretaker chairmen is also barred.

“The Act giving legislative powers to State Assembly members to undergo a process by sacking elected local government chairmen is null and void.

The group further stated that the people of Jos South especially at the grassroot are yet to benefit from dividends of democracy since they don’t have elected officials for close to five years now.

The Advocates accused the appointed caretaker chairmen who have been at the helms of affairs in the council of looting the local government treasury under the guise of renovation of the LGAs Secretariat.

“The present management committee chairman claims to be changing the roof of the LGAs Secretariat, which was build for about N500 million, and now about N400 million is being used for the work”, he decried.

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