The tenure of local government chairmen in Yobe State will end on November 3 2022. However, The Nation’s investigation revealed that the Yobe State Independent Electoral Commission (YSIEC) has not commenced preparations to conduct fresh local government elections.
It was also gathered that the 90-day constitutional notice of election is already violated as no notice on the date for a new election has been served on stakeholders, including security personnel, political parties and IPAC from the commission.
In 2021, the State House of Assembly amended the Local Government Law through a resolution and reduced the tenure of the elected chairmen and councillors from 24 months to 20 months. The current chairmen and councillors who were elected on February 27 2021, and sworn in on March 3 2021, are bound to vacate office on November 3 2022. Efforts to get the Chairman of YSIEC, Dr Mamman Mamman to comment on the matter were futile, as he did not pick up his calls or respond to the text messages sent to him.
A source from the commission, who spoke to our correspondent in confidence, said “the commission is frustrated at the moment because; the state government was alerted on 90 days to the expiration of the tenure of these local government chairmen. But, since then, no response has been received from the state government.”
The source also expressed worry over the possibility of facing legal action if elections are not conducted within the stipulated period. “You know the law prohibits the appointment of local government caretaker committee chairmen. Even President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senate have warned that no state government should appoint any caretaker chairman but conduct elections instead. I am afraid with the silence from the state government, we may not meet the requirements of the law and someone may decide to slam legal action against the state government and the commission,” the source said.
But when contacted, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the State Barrister Saleh Samanja said he is aware of the implication and has also advised the government on what to do. He insisted that the state will not appoint local government caretakers. “No caretaker will be put in place,” he responded.
On how it will be feasible with the 90 days’ notice already elapsed, the Chief Law Officer of the State said “we will cross the bridge when we come to it.” Another source close to the government hinted that the state government at the moment is cash-strapped and therefore not interested in investing huge resources in the conduct of local government elections, especially with the general elections also very close.
The source added that “the governor intends to conduct the local government election after the general elections when he will be sworn in for his second tenure.” Our findings revealed that up to half a billion naira would be required to conduct the election. The last election cost the commission about N400 million.