Contrary to views making the rounds, the Lagos State House of Assembly yesterday said that the ongoing amendment to the laws guiding local council administration in the state is to improve their functions and not to witch-hunt anyone.
Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, said that their effort was to lay the foundation for an efficient and effective local council system in the state ahead of fresh elections.
Obasa, at a-one day public hearing on the amendment of the law titled: ‘A bill for a law to amend the local council administration law 2015’ yesterday, said that since the local councils are the closest tier of government to the people, “it is imperative that laws be put in place to ensure an efficient and progressive local council administration.”
The All Progressives Congress (APC) state legal adviser, Ademola Sodik, had said that the party was against the amendment to Section 24 (A), which gives the Assembly power to recommend suspension or removal of council chairman to the governor after investigation of petition against him, describing it as negation of the principle of separation of power.
But in reaction to this, Obasa said that the House was not interested in witch-hunting or removing anybody but that it is meant to keep local council officials on their toes.
An important provision in the amendment is the extension of the tenure of chairmen and councillors of local councils to four years from the current three years to place them at par with other elected officers at the state and federal level.
Giving an overview of the bill, the Majority Leader, Sanai Agunbiade, said that there were five major amendments to the 2015 local council administration law; these are: Sections 12 (1); 21 (1); 24 (A); 26 and 27.
These sections have to do with the dissolution and proclamation of councils; extension of tenure of chairmen and councillors to four years; removal of chairmen and vice chairmen; disqualification of chairman and discharge of functions of chairman.
Earlier in his welcome address, Chairman, House Committee on Local Council Administration, Kazeem Alimi, said the amendment was geared towards ensuring justice and good governance at the local level and that the extension of tenure would promote equity and fairness within the political class as it obtains in states and the federal levels.
Former Speaker of the Assembly, Jokotola Pelumi, commended the Speaker for sponsoring the bill, which he said was long overdue.
He added that the amendment “is one brilliant idea that has taken too long in coming as it has been pushed forward severally with nobody ready to bell the cat.”