National Assembly Grants Full Autonomy to Nigeria’s Local Governments, Empowering INEC for Local Elections

National Assembly Grants Full Autonomy to Nigeria’s Local Governments, Empowering INEC for Local Elections

In a landmark move, the National Assembly of Nigeria has granted full financial and administrative autonomy to all 774 local council authorities by amending section 124 of the nation’s constitution. This amendment aims to elevate local councils to a full third tier of government, ensuring they operate without undue interference from state governments.

The amendment, one of 22 others approved by the House of Representatives and ratified by the Senate, signifies a significant step towards decentralization and strengthening grassroots governance. Through a conference committee, both chambers harmonized versions of the amendments, ratifying all 23 clauses and sections amended.

Read Also: Falana SAN says Members of Rivers Assembly Whose Seats Were Declared Vacant Lack Proper Legal Counsel

Key provisions of the amendment include the creation of the Office of Auditor General of the Local Government and the State Local Government Service Commission. Furthermore, the amendment delegates the power to conduct council elections from the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), enhancing the credibility and fairness of local elections.

While retaining the immunity clause for the President and Governors, the National Assembly rejected the version proposed by the House of Representatives, opting for the Senate’s stance. Additionally, the amendment paves the way for Independent Candidacy in future elections by revising sections 65 and 106 of the 1999 constitution.

This historic decision by the National Assembly reflects a commitment to democratic principles, local governance, and electoral integrity. It empowers local governments to better serve their communities and ensures greater accountability and transparency in the electoral process. As the amended document proceeds to State Houses of Assembly for approval, it heralds a new era of autonomy and accountability in Nigeria’s local governance structure.

Read Also: The National Assembly has approved a budget of N86.2 billion for the Nigerian Communications Commission’s operations in 2022.

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