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INGRA Criticizes Kogi Government's Extension of Caretaker Chairmen Tenure

The Initiative for Grassroot Advancement (INGRA), a civil society organization, has urged the Kogi state government to reverse its decision to extend the tenure of the current caretaker chairmen of local government councils. In a statement signed by INGRA's Executive Director, Hamza Aliyu, and released in Lokoja on Saturday, the organization argued that the reasons provided by the government for not conducting local government elections are untenable and implausible.

INGRA called on Governor Usman Ododo’s administration to promptly arrange and conduct local government council elections.

“The reasons of poor finances for the non-conduct of elections at the local government level by the state government are not only untenable but downright unbelievable. The January-April 2024 NET allocation (minus all deductions) to the state and 21 local governments, as stated by the Federal Ministry of Finance, stood at over N56.4 billion. This is more than enough to conduct local government council elections, providing citizens the opportunity to decide who governs them at the local level. This is a violation of their constitutional right to participate in governance and deprives them of the sole dividend of democracy, which is participation.

“It is evident that reasons other than finance could explain this inaction. It would be unthinkable and unconstitutional for the President of Nigeria to avoid conducting elections after four years and appoint caretaker governors. Governors, as the primary beneficiaries of elections conducted by the federal government, must not deny those same rights to others at the local council levels,” the statement read.

INGRA emphasized that holding elections at the local level would give citizens, especially youths, the chance to practice democracy and strengthen the electoral culture. The organization also called on the Kogi State House of Assembly to ensure that democratic principles and structures are upheld and protected, regardless of any pressure or circumstances.
 

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