Member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia federal constituency of Abia State, Rep. Sam Onuigbo has said the Electoral Act 2022 has made it impossible for the state chief executives to single-handedly decide those who will preside over the affairs of local governments as chairmen and councillors without opportunity for opposition parties to win.
In an interview with newsmen, Rep. Onuigbo who is the chairman House of Representatives Committee on Climate Change said even though local government elections are handled by the State Independent Electoral Commissions in line with section 197 of the constitution, the Electoral Act 2022 makes it necessary for a transparent process to be put in place devoid of ambiguity and secrecy.
The lawmaker said section 150, subsection 3 of the Electoral Act specifically states that any election to Local Government Council that is conducted by a state commission in violation of subsection 1 shall be invalid, noting that state Electoral Commissions are under obligations to adhere to a national standard in conduct of elections.
He said, “It is easy for some to say that this seems to run counter to the provisions of the state electoral commission, where they are supposed to organise and supervise elections.
“Yes, we know that it is there. But, this is to serve as a guide so that you maintain the national standard. I think that is the wisdom in getting this thing into the Electoral Act 2022.
“To maintain a national standard, to build transparency into the process, to ensure that people from different parties can participate and, where possible, win elections where they are popular.
“You can see that this runs counter to the practice we are experiencing now, which does not make for transparency, where the governor sits down with a few of his people and selects people they want to be council chairman and councillors.
“And, once that list comes out, the state electoral commission does not do anything different from the list that the governor had issued”, he said.
He said if there is a standard practice in place, it will raise the interest of citizens in taking part in local government elections.