IF the collated results of the public sessions on the review of the 1999 Constitution truly represent the views of Nigerians, then they would be happier if the enormous powers wielded by the 36 state governors of the federation are reduced drastically. In a 43-item template report Thursday unveiled by the Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, Emeka Ihedioha, the majority of Nigerians across the 360 federal constituencies were unanimous in approving full autonomy for the 774 local councils in the federation.
Specifically, in items 9, 10, 12, 13, 14 and 16 of the template, Nigerians expressed the desire that the local councils be granted financial autonomy, called for the abolishment of the joint state local council accounts so that allocations due to the local councils can be paid to them directly.
They also suggested that the local councils be accorded the status of a third tier of government, that the local councils be denied revenue allocation if unelected local council chairmen are at the helm and that the tenure of local councils chairmen and councillors be defined in the proposed amendment to the constitution.
Of note is the call for the abolishment of the state independent electoral commission in order that all elections are conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as well as granting financial autonomy to the state Houses of Assembly as is the case with the National Assembly.