Some members of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) have kicked against an emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the body called by its immediate past President, Mr Gambo Kagara.
In a statement on Monday, the members said Kagara was no longer the ALGON president, and so lacked authority to call the meeting earlier scheduled to hold in Abuja on Tuesday.
The statement, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, was signed by the Chairman of ALGON Board of Trustees (BOT), Mr Odunayo Atebgero, and five state chairmen of the association.
The other signatories are Mr Itiako Ikpokpo, Chairman, Delta ALGON; Mr Aliyu Tsafe (Zamfara); Mr Kolade Alabi (Lagos); Mr Sani Dogara (Gombe), and Mr Taofiq Isah (Kogi).
Describing the proposed meeting as “a distraction and out rightly unconstitutional’’, they alleged that it was part of a ploy by Kagara to cling to power, an allegation he denied.
The ALGON members said Kagara ceased to be the president on February 13 following the dissolution of the 25 local government councils of his home state, Niger.
Until the dissolution of the councils, Kagara was the chairman of Rafi Local Government of the state.
According to the statement, being a local government chairman/administrator is a precondition for ALGON membership.
“Hence, with the dissolution of the 25 local government councils in Niger, he ceases to be a member and president of ALGON,’’ they said.
According to them, the former Deputy President, Mr Sunday Ameachi (Abia ALGON), could not take over from Kagara as he too left office as a local government chairman since December.
“As a way out of the sudden leadership vacuum, the association, in line with section 17.1 of its constitution, constituted a 21-man Transition Management Committee (TMC) to run its affairs in the time being.
The TMC, which has Ategbero as Chairman, is to conduct elections to fill all vacant positions in the NEC within 60 days from the day of its inauguration.
It is worthy to note that there is no emergency in ALGON whatsoever as the TMC, upon its constitution, resolved that all members of ALGON NEC should take time out to participate actively in the 2019 general elections.
TMC is to reconvene after the national elections to set out modalities for election to fill its vacant positions,’’ they said.
When contacted by NAN, Kagara denied the allegation that he was trying to hang on to office as ALGON president.
While admitting that his tenure actually ended on February 13, he explained that he called the meeting to formally inform the NEC members, and to plan for a smooth transition.
Kagara said there was need for a smooth and transparent transition in the association, which he said was in bad shape until he came in as president.
“On February 10, I called the BOT chairman to inform him of the need for NEC to meet and plan a smooth transition, and not be in a hurry.
I said we should not make anybody ALGON president who has a short time left in office as chairman of his local government.
This is what led to the leadership instability in the association before I came in as president.
I am not interested in remaining in office as ALGON president because I am no more the chairman of Rafi Local Government, and so ineligible to remain,’’ he said.
As at the time of filing this report, Kagara had sent out another notice calling off the proposed NEC meeting, a move also dismissed by one of the members as unconstitutional.(NAN)