Process to become a Local Government Chairman
Local government as the third tier of government in Nigeria is the closest government to the people as it deals with the people from the grassroots level.
This article examines the process of being appointed a local government chairperson in Nigeria. Nigeria has 774 Local Governments Areas (LGA), and each LGA is administered by a Local Government Council. The Council comprises of the Chairperson who is the Chief Executive of the LGA, and other elected members referred to as Councillors. The Chairperson supervises the activities of the Local government and presides over all meetings of the Council.
Who is eligible to become a local government chairperson in Nigeria?
Each local government must have a Chairperson and a Vice-Chairperson. For a person to be qualified to hold office as Chairperson of a local government, the person must:
- be a citizen of Nigeria
- have attained the age of 30 years
- be educated up to at least the School Certificate (WASSCE) level or its equivalent
- Be a member of a political party and must be sponsored by that party.
These conditions must all be met for a person to be qualified to be the Chairperson of a Local Government.
Persons disqualified from Contesting for Local Government Chairperson
A person is disqualified from holding the office of Chairperson of a local government in Lagos State where:
- He/she has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of another country other than Nigeria or has made a declaration of allegiance to that other country in cases not permitted by the National Assembly
- He/she is declared to be a lunatic or of unsound mind by a law in force in any part of Nigeria
- He/she has been sentenced to death by a court of law or tribunal in Nigeria or has been sentenced to imprisonment for an offence involving dishonesty or fraud
- He/she is an undischarged bankrupt having been declared bankrupt under any law in force in any part of Nigeria
- He/she is employed in the civil service or public service of the Federation or of any state or any local government and has not retired, resigned or withdrawn from that employment thirty (30) days before the date of the election
- He/she is a member of a secret society
- He/she has been accused/charged for embezzlement or fraud by the Judicial Commission of inquiry or a tribunal under the Tribunals Inquiry Act or any other law set up by the Federal, state or local government.
If a person meets the qualifications above and does not fall under any of the disqualification, then the person is qualified to contest in an election for the position of a local government chairperson.
Tenure of Office
The tenure of a local government chairperson lasts for three (3) years. Generally, a person can only serve one term as a local government chairperson. This means that the Chairperson of a local government must vacate his office at the expiration of three (3) years starting from the date when he took the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of Office.
A local government chairperson may be required to leave office before the end of his/her tenure where:
- He/she becomes a member of a legislative house
- He/she becomes President, Vice-President, Governor, Deputy-Governor or a Minister or Commissioner
- He/she resigns from the political party which has sponsored his election or becomes a member of another political party before the end of the period for which he was elected as local government chairperson
- He/she becomes a member of a secret society or does anything that disqualifies him from being the chairperson of a local government.
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