By Godwin Ojoshimite
The Nasarawa State House of Assembly on, Monday passed the bill amending the 2009 Local Government Act into law by two-third majority overruling a veto by governor Umaru Tanko Almakura who withheld accent for over two months.
In an emergency plenary session which was incidentally convened at the instance of Governor Almakura to enable him present the 2014 Appropriation Bill, the members invoked constitutional powers to pass the bill into law satisfied with the reasons given by the governor in a letter wriiten to the Assembly on why he withheld accent to the bill.
In the first paragraph of the letter, Al- Makura referred to the huge amount of money needed to conduct a single election which he says is close to a billion naira and would amount to waste of scarce resources conducting local government elections every other year.
The letter also drew the attention of members to the fact that ensuing litigations which are characteristic of our democracy is bound to consume substantial time and attention of the elected officials, thus defeating the purpose for which the exercise is intended.
However, in debating the matter, the legislators described the observations as frivolous and of no consequence.
In his submission, Mohammed Baba Ibaku, chairman on Information and security, said there was no basis for the reconsideration of the bill since the House was careful in arriving at the decision having considered every implication.
On his part, Francis Orogu, representing Keana constituency, cast doubt on the veracity of the need for N1 billion to conduct local polls saying, “Nasarawa is a small state with only 13 local governments. how can local government election gulp that kind of amount?”
Tanko Tunga, one of the five All Peoples Congress, APC, members in the 24-member PDP controlled assembly, sounded a word of caution to both the legislature and the executive arms of government to live up to the expectations of the electorates rather than engaging in what he termed “cold war politics”.
It would be recalled that the executive and the legislative arm of government in the state have been engaged in a cold war over the tenure of local government officials.
While the executive arm is strongly in support of the two year tenure already stipulated for the local government officials, the legislative arm wants elections conducted every year.