Former Health Minister Mamora Criticizes Governors’ Role in Local Government Administration

In a recent interview on Channels Television, former Minister of Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, expressed his candid views on the deterioration of local government administration in Nigeria.

Mamora attributed the decline to the actions of governors who, according to him, undermined the democratic process by imposing caretaker chairmen at the grassroots level.

Governors’ Impact on Local Governments:

Mamora asserted that the governors played a pivotal role in the decline of local governance, particularly by intervening in the tenure of elected local government chairmen.

He pointed out that the introduction of caretaker chairmen disrupted the democratic process that had initially been set in motion under Abdulsalami Abubakar’s administration in 1998.

Historical Perspective:

Recalling historical events, Mamora highlighted the initial three-year tenure for local government chairmen, set to terminate in 2001.

However, he emphasized that the move to extend the tenure to four years, mirroring state and federal tenures, led to a contentious situation.

Legal Challenge and Constitutional Basis:

As the chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Houses of Assembly in 2001, Mamora described the legal challenge initiated against the tenure extension.

He explained that Section 7 of the Constitution vested authority over local governments in the state, a factor that led to the constitutional challenge.

Conflict with State Houses of Assembly:

Mamora clarified that the challenge was rooted in the perception that the move to extend local government chairmen’s tenure encroached upon the powers of state houses of assembly.

The conflict arose due to the attempt to shift the balance of power between the different tiers of government.

Supreme Court Ruling:

The former minister revealed that despite the legal opposition, the National Assembly proceeded with the bill to extend local government chairmen’s tenure.

Subsequently, Mamora and his fellow speakers sought legal redress, leading the case to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court ruling affirmed that determining the tenure of local government chairmen was beyond the purview of the National Assembly.

Presidential Intervention:

Mamora recounted an important juncture when then-President Olusegun Obasanjo appealed to speakers at the Villa.

The appeal was made as the tenure of existing local government chairmen was concluding, and new elections were pending.

The involvement of the governors further complicated the legal proceedings.

Conclusion:

Olorunnimbe Mamora’s insights shed light on the intricate dynamics that have shaped local government administration in Nigeria.

The intervention of governors, legal battles, and constitutional nuances have collectively contributed to the challenges faced by grassroots governance.

The interview provides a valuable perspective on the delicate balance of power and the impact of political decisions on the democratic fabric of the nation.

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