Mr Idris Miliki, Executive Director, Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR), has called on Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi, to urgently conduct elections into the 21 local government councils of the state.
Miliki made the call at a Quarterly Review Meeting for Media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Anti-corruption, Transparency and Accountability in Elections in Kogi State on Tuesday in Lokoja.
The meeting was organised by the CHRCR in partnership with Shehu Musa Yar’adua Foundation with support from MacArthur Foundation.
Miliki urged the governor to put necessary machinery in place to conduct council elections, to address issues of illegitimacy and under-development at that tier of governance.
The human rights activist said the usual complaints of lack of funds for the exercise often backed by the state House of Assembly was no longer tenable, in view of the several allocations the state received from the Federation Account.
“Governor Yahaya Bello cannot continue to hide behind a finger for his inability to conduct elections at the third tier level of government, inspite of the several allocations the state has received.
He said that the non-conduct of election had denied the people at the grassroots their rights of participation and good governance.
He lamented the inability of the state government in the last three years to allocate and appropriate funds for the conduct of local government elections in the state and described the action as illegal.
Also speaking, Mr Mohammed Abdullahi, Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), said there was need to entrench citizens’ rights, adding that to fight corruption, the duty bearers must be put to task.
He therefore urged the people to always ask questions in case of rights infringement.
Mr John Amabi, a member of Kogi Non-Governmental Organisations Network (KONGONET), regretted that politicians were taking advantage of a clause in the Electoral Act to disrupt elections where they were not popular, adding that the clause for cancellation of results should be reviewed.
Amabi enjoined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a review of the provision, if elections must be free, fair, transparent and credible.