Lawmakers divided over council poll in Katsina State
Two members of the House of Representatives have expressed divergent opinions over the conduct of local council elections in their home state of Katsina.
While Ahmad Babba Kaita (APC; Kankia/Ingawa/Kusada) called on the state government to hold the elections; Dayyabu Safana Ahmad (APC; Safana/Batsari/Danmusa) on the other hand, advised against the poll for now.
Kaita said the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) at the state and national level had before the 2015 general elections, promised the electorate that it would hold council elections if voted into power.
He said the failure to hold council polls in the state had led some people to call political office holders all sorts of names, and that the situation was making it difficult for them to relate freely with those that elected them into office.
He therefore called on the state government not to delay in holding the council polls, as doing so would allow the third tier of government thrive in the state.
The two men spoke during a stakeholders’ meeting held in Katsina on the problems facing local governments in the state and the way forward. But Safana argued that the local government areas have been finding it difficult to pay salaries and run their affairs due to paucity of funds, which was caused by economic downturn.
“How do you expect the local governments to take care of salary payments, overhead costs among other monetary needs when the elections are held?” he asked.
He said most of the council areas in the state depend on state government’s support to be able to pay salaries and overhead costs, as monies that used to come for such things had greatly depleted.
Earlier, governor Aminu Bello Masari had expressed the state’s readiness to conduct the poll but that there was the challenge of the councils being able to sustain themselves.
He said government has been bailing out the councils for the past two years in the payment of salaries, and that at least N500 million was being borrowed the councils by government to pay salaries alone.
He said over N9 billion has so far been borrowed the councils to pay salaries, and that with autonomy after the polls, it was doubtful if they would be able to cope with the development.
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