Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday expressed optimism that the newly amended laws on the Local Government system in the state would bring about a massive reform in the third tier of government, which would in turn translate into a renaissance to create prosperity and good governance for the people.
Governor Ambode, who spoke at the Lagos House, Alausa during the signing ceremony of three amended laws, described the Local Government as unarguably the most critical level of governance in the State, a development which he said necessitated the need for the reforms.
The newly signed amended laws include the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (Amendment) Law, Local Government Administration (Amendment) Law and Local Government Election Tribunal (Second Amendment) Law.
Governor Ambode, who said the essence of law in every society is the regulation of human conduct, recalled how at the inception, his administration identified the need to improve on laws that impact on people’s lives and particularly those that were relevant at the Local Government level.
Giving highlights of the laws, Governor Ambode said the need to amend the LASIEC law to pave way for the regulation of election matters arose as a result of current trend in the political space and to prevent a lacuna in certain instances.
He said: “Some of the highlights of the amendments include the empowering of the Commission to review the delineation of wards in each Local Government of the State at intervals of every 10 (Ten) 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.”
Speaking on the Local Government Administration Law, the Governor said the purpose was to regulate administration of Local authorities and other connected purposes, adding that one of the major highlights of the amendment was the increase of the tenure of the Chairman and the Councilors from 3 years to 4 years commencing from the date of taking oath of office.
Besides, Governor Ambode said the Local Government Election Tribunal (Second Amendment) Law was specially 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.
He added that more time would now be available for consideration of election petitions.
“By the assent of these Bills into Law, the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission is empowered to commence necessary administrative processes that will translate to the composition of the Local Government structure,” Governor Ambode said.
The Governor, however, thanked members of the Lagos State House of Assembly for their speedy consideration and passage of the laws, saying the development clearly demonstrated that the House was still vibrant and a great pride to Lagosians.