Lagos State government has extended the tenure of elected Local Government Chairmen to four years in office instead of three.
This came to the fore as Governor Akinwunmi Ambode signed three amended bills on Local Government Administration into law.
The bills are Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission amendment law, Local Government Administration amendment law and Local Government Election Tribunal second amendment law.
Governor Ambode, while appending his signature on the bills, said the operation of the laws became imperative so as to meet current challenges and realities of political spaces in the country.
“The passage of this law is a further institutionalization of the rule of law in Lagos and the commitment of this administration to local government reform; the local government system is crucial to grassroots development and these new laws are clear demonstration that this is a golden era where the local government system will experience a renaissance, great prosperity and good governance for our people,” Governor Ambode stressed.
The Governor highlighted that more time would now be available for consideration of election petitions as the window has been increased from 30 days to 45 days.
“The Local Government Election Tribunal (Second Amendment) Law was to empower the Tribunal to enlarge the time for doing any act or taking any proceeding on such terms as the justice of the case may require, provided that the enlargement of time shall not be granted by the Tribunal to extend the life span of a petition beyond forty- five days.
In the same vein, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Civic Engagement, Mr Kehinde Joseph said,“The objective of the amendment of the local government administration law is to enhance excellent governance delivery at the grassroots level while the amendment of the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) law is to strengthen the law to allow for smooth preparation for local government elections in the state.”
Highlights of the laws
Some other highlights of the amendments include the empowerment of the Commission to review the delineation of wards in each Local Government of the State at intervals of every 10 years and division of each Local Government into not less than 10 wards and not more than 20 wards. Section 2 of the amendment replaces Section 5 of the Principal Law.
A new Section 62 created by the amendment provides that the Vice Chairman elected with the Chairman would be sworn in as Chairman, in the event of the death of an elected Chairman before he is sworn in as Chairman.
The amendment to the law has also been proactive as Section 64 now provides that an incumbent Chairman who wins a re-run election would have the period spent in office prior to the re-run taken into account.