The Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committees on the Independent National Electoral Commission and Electoral Matters, has proposed an extension to the tenure of Local Government Chairmen, in the Federal Capital Territory, from three to four years.
The committees equally proposed an upward review of the amount to be spent by candidates seeking elective public office to N10bn.
Our correspondent also learnt in Abuja, on Wednesday, that the panel also recommended that other elected officials of the six area councils which make up the FCT should equally benefit from the proposed amendment.
These proposals are contained in recommended amendments to the Electoral Act, which the committee is prepared to submit before Senators and House of Reps members for consideration and approval later this month.
When contacted, the Chairman, Senate Committee on the INEC, Senator Kabiru Gaya, confirmed this development, in an interview with our correspondent.
Gaya said, “Since the National Assembly legislate on the Federal Capital Territory, we amended the tenure of the local government chairmen within the FCT.
“We believe that if we leave a chairman to serve for three years, they cannot record any concrete achievement.
“They would be undergoing the learning process in their first year and start implementing their own projects in the second year, while they will be preparing for elections in the third year. This means that they have just one year to really work effectively.
“However, if we increase their tenure to four years, they will have two out of the four years to work. That is why we have proposed that the tenure for local government chairmen should be increased to four years.
“We are therefore appealing to all the governors to comply with the new provisions because we don’t have the powers over them. We can only appeal to them.”
The committee chairman also explained that the panel equally proposed an upward review of the amount to be spent by candidates seeking elective public office.
He said, “We looked at the current situation and we have come to a conclusion that someone contesting election as president of Nigeria should spend more than N5bn.
“We have recommended N10bn for the Presidential candidate while the amount that could be spent by those contesting elections as governors and legislators have also been reviewed upward.
“On personal donations to presidential candidates, we have recommended that an individual could donate up to N10m for a candidate either for the presidential or governorship election because the current N1m benchmark is no longer realistic.”