Mark derides governors for running councils like personal estate

By The Citizen
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Senate President, David Mark, on Monday condemned the current practice in some state governors who are running the various local government councils in their domain like their personal estates, with most chairmen not democratically elected.

Mark, who stated this at the public presentation of three books written by the Secretary, Directorate of Legal Services of the National Assembly, Mr. Daniel Adem, in Abuja, also challenged the judiciary to be more creative in interpreting laws to ensure better dispensation of justice.

'You will agree with me that the powers conferred in the constitution on local government councils are being usurped. Section 7 guarantee only a democratically elected local government council chairmen.

'I know there are so many states in this country that are running undemocratic local government councils. A local government chairman should be like a governor in his local government just as the the governors are like the President in their various states.

'Governors should stop subverting the constitutional rights of the local government chairmen in their states,' he said.

Mark urged the judiciary to emulate Western countries by ensuring efficient dispensation of justice through effective interpretation of laws.

'We are also encouraging the judiciary to do the work they are doing. I think we have come a long way in terms of quality of what is happening at the bench. We believe it should be better.

'Obviously the judiciary is getting its acts together and I hope that it would only get better. In most climes, it is the judiciary that determines and defines the character of the democracy that they are being practised.

'In the United States, it is what the judge says that is the law. You may go and make your own law but it is what the judge says, that is the the law. I want to encourage the judiciary to be relatively more imaginative in terms of looking at the interpretation of the constitution.

'There are some loose interpretation in the constitution that we have to look into. Being a nation where we dont trust each other, the constitution should be as details as possible.

'For instance why should it be the legislators that would define what grosss misconduct in an impeachment proceeding? We should not be a judge or jury in our own courts, these are some of the areas that we should address so that we have unbiased pronouncement,' Mark said.

The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, in his remarks said the books would simplify the process of legislative engagement.

Angwe, who was represented by Head of the Directorate of his office, Mr Harry Obe, said simplification of legislative engagement was key to the mandate of the commission.

'As you know, one of the critical mandates of the commission is to review bills, laws and administrative policies to ensure that they are in conformity with human right norms and simplification of legislative engagement will help in this regard.

'We believe that with works like this, the mandate of the commission will be made easier in terms of our engagement with legislative processes,' he said.

The author of the book, Daniel Adem, said he was inspired to write the books in order to simplify legislative drafting for the common man to understand.

Adem said, 'The books would equally assist the judiciary in easy interpretation of laws. In the books, I talked about legislative drafting made in simple language and it is to encourage our laws to be drafted in ordinary language.

'If laws are written in ordinary language, it will also assist the judiciary in the interpretation of the law.'

He noted that the responses from the public on his previous publications indicated that ordinary Nigerians appreciated his effort to simplify the law in his write-ups.