The Lagos State Government says there is no going back on plan to amend the Local Government Administration Law to pave way for the extension of the tenure of Local Government Chairmen in Lagos, southwest Nigeria.
The government is currently seeking to amend the law, through the Lagos State House of Assembly to extend the tenure of council chairmen to four years instead of three years.
The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye said in Lagos that the amendment proposal came out of various suggestions made towards improving administrative efficiency at the local government level.
The commissioner said government believes that the proposed amendment would make government at the grassroots more efficient and result oriented.
“Many keen observers find the three years turnaround time to be a disadvantage. Typically, chairmen and councilors come into government as freshers. They spend the first year settling down, appreciating the demands of the office and generally orientating themselves. Let us assume that by the second year they have a fair grip and increasing efficiency, this is virtually lost by the third year.
“With elections approaching, they are heavily distracted. Furthermore, a lot of people have canvassed the harmonization of terms of office across the board, for instance, federal, state and local governments, so that we do not have what appears to be an unending political or electioneering season. In the light of these arguments, we believe that the proposed amendment will make governments more efficient at the local level,” Ipaye explained.
Ipaye stated that if the House of Assembly considered the amendment worthy of passage as proposed, serving political office holders at the local government level would be at par with their colleagues at the state and federal levels.
“They will get a four-year term which is renewable once, provided they are re-elected. After two terms they will not be able to contest for the same position again,” he said.
On the intention of the Federal Government to sell the National Theatre, the Attorney General said the state government might contest the decision in court if the Federal Government should sell it to private bodies instead of the state government.
“In fact, we are really not sure of the intentions of the Federal Government in this regard. However, we reiterate our readiness to take over, refurbish and use these heritage assets for their intended purposes.
“I think Lagos State Government is eminently deserving of this opportunity. In a very real sense, we do have a stake in these monuments, having hosted the Federal Government as capital territory for so long and created the enabling environment for their establishment.
“Apart from their being on Lagos soil, these monuments are an intimate part of the Lagos history and social scene. If anyone can be trusted to value and treasure them, it is the Lagos State Government,” he explained.
According to him, if the National Theatre is eventually sold, “we feel very strongly about these monuments-for all the good reasons. For many of them, we will no doubt consider the legal option if it comes to that. In the meantime, we are focused on persuasion, hoping that the Federal Government will appreciate the obvious merit of our position.”