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Mamora Accuses State Governors Of Destroying Local Governments



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A former Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Olorunnimbe Mamora, has disclosed that some state governors were responsible for the destruction of the local government administration in the country.

Mamora, who served as speaker in the Lagos Assembly from June 1999 to June 2003, added that the major reason for the LG administration’s collapse was due to the request of some chairmen who sought a four-year tenure under the Abdulsalami Abubakar-led government, instead of three years – to be on par with state and federal appointees.

Mamora, a former health minister, revealed this during an interview on Channels Television’s Inside Sources programme on Friday.

He said the governors imposed caretaker chairmen on the people at the grassroots and failed to allow the conduct of free and fair polls at the LG level.

“If I would be very frank, the governors destroyed the local governments. That’s the truth. Don’t forget I was very much involved. Local government chairmen were elected under Abdulsalami Abubakar in 1998 with a three-year tenure which should have terminated in 2001 but towards the end of the termination of the tenure, the local government chairmen under the aegis of ALGON started making moves to the National Assembly then headed by Anyim Pius Anyim as Senate President and Ghali Na’aaba (of blessed memory) as the Speaker of the House.

“They (LG chairmen) were asking for the extension of their tenure to be four years in line with the state and the federal. That was the beginning,” Mamora said.

He noted that the extra-year request by the chairmen was met with a challenge as he, alongside his then colleague-speakers went to court “because Section 7 of the Constitution has placed everything in the local governments under the state through laws made by the state house of assembly.”

Mamora added, “We challenged it because it was like trying to usurp the powers of the state houses of assembly.

“While the case was then in court because of the interest of the governors, they came in to join, and because they joined, the case was taken straight to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court ruled that the National Assembly had no business in determining the tenure.”

The former lawmaker narrated how former President Olusegun Obasanjo invited the state speakers to the Presidential Villa in Abuja, and urged them to allow the four-year tenure be.

He said Obasanjo “invited us speakers to the Villa and appealed to us because their tenure was about ending, and new local government chairmen were yet to be elected.

“That was when he (Obasanjo) then persuaded us that each state should go and put in place a kind of stop-gap situation, that was what led to the state making laws for caretaker committees which was supposed to be a temporary thing to take care of that lacuna, that is the tenure of the local governments finishing and the new one yet to be elected.

“That is the genesis of caretaker committees which the governors now abuse. You now see it all over the place, something which was supposed to be in the interim now contravenes Section 7 of the constitution that talks about democratically elected chairmen.”

Mamora, who was the Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Houses of Assembly in 2001 noted that the abuse of the caretaker model gave birth to the issue of LG funds allegedly held by some governors.

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