Yiaga Africa Calls for Four-Year Terms for LGAs

Yiaga Africa
Yiaga Africagoogle

Yiaga Africa has suggested a four-year term for elected local government officials to standardize tenure across Nigeria's government levels. This recommendation was made during a roundtable on legislative reform for improved local government elections in Lagos.

Cynthia Mbamalu, Director of Programmes at Yiaga Africa, emphasized the importance of this move for ensuring the autonomy of local government chairpersons and councils.

She also highlighted the need to align electoral acts with the 2022 amendments to tackle challenges like autonomy issues, inconsistent tenure, and inadequate funding in local government elections.

"Some states have gone years without local government elections, relying on caretaker committees instead of elected chairpersons," Mbamalu pointed out. "We propose a specific timeline for elections, not earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days before the current term expires."

She further recommended conducting elections every four years in Lagos and other states, with a 360-day notice period to allow sufficient planning time for citizens, parties, and electoral commissions. Mbamalu stressed the necessity of adequate funding for electoral commissions to ensure the quality of elections.

Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Founding Director of the Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, echoed the call for urgent reforms to address the lack of independence and autonomy in local government elections.

Representing Dr. Akiyode-Afolabi, Uche George highlighted the challenges stemming from local governments' dependence on state governments for funding, which hinders independence and accountability.

Afolabi emphasized that electoral reform could address issues like voter apathy and low turnout, ultimately leading to more effective grassroots development.

Afolabi Abiodun, Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor, stressed the necessity of democratically elected local governments and encouraged states yet to hold elections to prioritize this.

Stanley Kuti, Director of LASIEC, emphasized the importance of building trust among voters to combat apathy, expressing confidence that collaboration with stakeholders could address challenges faced by the commission.

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