Speaking in an interview at the sidelines of a two-day national delegates conference of the Forum of State Independent Electoral Commission of Nigeria (FOSIECON) in Abuja yesterday, Senator Mark who was represented by the chairman, Senate committee on INEC, Andy Uba, said the local government remained the closest level of government to the people and needed to be strengthened.
He was reacting to a question on the recommendation of the just concluded National Conference that the local governments should be expunged from the constitution.
Senator Mark said: “I think what should be done is to give INEC the powers to conduct elections at the grassroots and not the state governors who would appoint who they like to conduct the elections. By so doing, I think, we will have better local government administration.”
While declaring the conference open, the Senate president observed that the “reality on ground is that the local governments are far from people they are meant to serve,” adding “I believe some institutional reforms need to be effected to make them serve their role.”
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Attahiru Jega, who was represented by INEC Commissioner, Dr. Abdulkadir Oniyangi, said it was important for the state electoral commissions to lessen the burden of the voters in electoral services.
He said the creation of new polling units by INEC was to ease the burden in voting and “has nothing to do with determining the preferences of voters in making electoral choices nor does it confer an electoral advantage on any candidate, party or region in the country.
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