The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Akwa Ibom Branch has called for the scrapping of the State Joint Local Government Account as well as the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) from the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as the Pop).

It noted that the scrapping was necessary to enhance effective administration and better performance of the local government councils in the country.

The state chairman of CLO, Otuekong Franklyn Isong made the call at the weekend while delivering a paper at the Local Study Tour of the Senior Executive Course 44, 2022 participants of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, with the theme: “Strengthening Local Governance in Nigeria: Challenges, Options and Opportunities.”

Isong regretted that the monthly allocations from the federation account to the local governments are paid into the State Joint Local Government Account adding that such does not allow the local government officials direct access to the money for development and called for the amendment of section 162(6) of the constitution.

He further regretted that state governments do not allow their state Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) to conduct elections as when due but rather settle for “Caretaker Committees” noting that there is a need for the amendment of Section 197(1)(b) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution that establishes the commission.

He said, “Unfortunately, State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) are independent in name and not in practice.

“The Nigerian Constitution should be amended to delete Section 197(1)(b) and to donate its functions to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). These in my considered opinion, are some of the fundamental constitutional reforms that can go a long way in strengthening local governance in Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria generally.”

He said an effective and inclusive local governance system provides one of the most important avenues for people including the poor, women and the minorities to participate in the development of their communities and the public sector’s decisions that are directly relevant to their lives.

LG Autonomy: CLO calls for scrapping of state Joint Local Government Account