• Thursday, May 30, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Senate president decries usurpation of LG powers by governors

businessday-icon

Senate President David Mark on Monday decried the current practice in some states of the federation whereby governors run the various local government areas in their domain with council bosses that were not democratically elected.

Mark, who stated this at a public presentation of three books written by Daniel Adem, the secretary, directorate of legal services of the National Assembly, in Abuja, also challenged the judiciary to be more creative in interpreting laws to ensure better dispensation of justice.

Represented by Anthony Manzo, his chief of staff, Mark noted with concern that some governors had taken over the responsibilities the council chairmen, saying it was not good for the nation’s democracy.

He submitted that powers conferred on the local councils are being usurped by state governors.

He stressed that many states of the federation are running “undemocratic local government councils”.

To him: “A local government chairman should be like a governor in his local government just as the governors”.

This practice, he said, does not augur well for the polity.

He said, “Section 7 guarantees only democratically elected local government council chairmen. A local government chairman should be like a governor in his local government just as the governors are like the president in their various states.

“Governors should stop subverting the constitutional rights of the local government chairmen in their states.”

Mark urged the judiciary to emulate the western countries by ensuring efficient dispensation of justice through effective interpretation of laws.

He said: “We are also encouraging the judiciary to do the work they are doing. I think we have come a long way in terms of quality of what is happening at the bench. We believe it should be better.

“Obviously, the judiciary is getting its acts together and I hope that it would only get better. In most climes, it is the judiciary that determines and defines the character of the democracy that they are being practised.

“In the United States, it is what the judge says that is the law. You may go and make your own law but it is what the judge says, that is the law. I want to encourage the judiciary to be relatively more imaginative in terms of looking at the interpretation of the constitution.”

The Senate president maintained that there are many aspects of our constitution that should be looked into and noted that the lawmakers were already doing justice to that.