BY INWALOMHE DONALD
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State is ignorant on issues of presidential and parliamentary systems in Nigeria. So rather for Osun PDP to show appreciation for what the governor has done to uplift democracy in Nigeria, people are bringing in political and misguided connotation to it.
So PDP cooked up the comment that Aregbesola has violated 1999 constitution with a view to instigate Osun people and Nigerians against the governor. Osun PDP is ignorant of section 7 of 1999 constitution.
A clear departure from the presidential system of government that is recommended at the Federal and state levels by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, the new experiment in Osun, seeks a return to the early years of the country’s independence when the nation operated a parliamentary system.
Under the new system in Osun, the third tier of government would operate in line with the governance model of the 1999 Constitution. Misunderstood in different forms, the Osun Local Government Parliamentary System is not in contrast with the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The system which provides for only parliamentarians at the local government setting operates with Councillors; a new method of governance away from the customary presidential system where the Chairman exercises full Executive Powers as practiced over the years.
In the new arrangement, there will still be the acclaimed “Local Government Chairman” but not elected. The chairman is a product of the Councillors who are lawmakers at the council level. He/She is elected by his/her colleagues who have been duly elected by citizens of respective wards across the state.
The arrangement is not in any way an aberration of the 1999 constitution as it fully defines the relevance of Section 7(1) of Nigeria’s Constitution and Section 22 of the LG(Administration) Law of Osun State 2002 as amended.
The elected Chairman among other councillors will exercise full executive powers over the local government just as the Prime Minister does in other parliamentary democracies.
The new system reduces cost of governing the third-tier of government, eliminates local government wide campaigns by prospective LG Chairmen and their deputies as well as curbing wastage in providing for two more offices since the Chairman and Vice Chairman are councillors and maintain their status quo as Councillors.
A good attribute of this is that the chairmen and vice-chairmen can be removed and replaced if they under-perform or lose the confidence reposed in them by their colleague
I have read some comments offline and online, when some ignorant and paid commentators have started insinuating that Aregbesola has violated the constitution.
It is very unfortunate that some Nigerians including public office holders are too lazy, to read the elementary sections of our Constitution, some of which are self explanatory.
Now, let us examine what Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution Of The Federal Republic Of Nigeria holds: Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution states that the system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this Constitution guaranteed; and accordingly, the Government of every State shall, subject to section 8 of this Constitution, ensure their existence under a Law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils.
Its obvious that members of Osun PDP have not seen Section 7(1) of the CFRN. I guess Osun PDP is guilty of the same laziness. Now, according to that provision which does not mention presidential or parliamentary system but democratic government at local government level which Governor Aregbesola has implemented.
Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution states that the system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this Constitution guaranteed; and accordingly, the Government of every State shall, subject to section 7 of this Constitution, ensure their existence under a Law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils.
(2) The person authorised by law to prescribe the area over which a local government council may exercise authority shall-
(a) define such area as clearly as practicable; and
(b) ensure, to the extent to which it may be reasonably justifiable that in defining such area regard is paid to –
(i) the common interest of the community in the area;
(ii) traditional association of the community; and
(iii) administrative convenience.
(3) it shall be the duty of a local government council within the State to participate in economic planning and development of the area referred to in subsection (2) of this section and to this end an economic planning board shall be established by a Law enacted by the House of Assembly of the State.
(4) The Government of a State shall ensure that every persons who is entitled to vote or be voted for at an election to House of Assembly shall have the right to vote or be voted for at an election to a local government council.
(5) The functions to be conferred by Law upon local government council shall include those set out in the Fourth Schedule to this Constitution.
(6) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution
(a) the National Assembly shall make provisions for statutory allocation of public revenue to local
government councils in the Federation; and
So where did PDP find the supposedly “loophole” or authority in law, in asking for presidential system in Osun State? Osun PDP allegation is mischievous and those making the allegation do not understand the Nigerian constitution.
For those Nigerians and their supporters who are ignorant of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, it provides for parliamentary and presidential system of government at the local government level. Finally, the concept of justice as being propagated by the dubious Osun PDP is nothing but jungle justice.
Inwalomhe Donald writes from Benin City, Edo State [email protected]