An Appraisal of the Legality of Caretaker Committee at the Local Government Level in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic
This paper examines the legality of appointing Caretaker Committee at the local government level by State governors in a constitutional democracy. The objective of the study is to ascertain whether the practice of appointing Caretaker Committee at the local government level in Nigeria is constitutional or otherwise. In efforts to achieving the above objective, the true federalism approach was adopted as a theoretical framework. Methodologically, the secondary method was adopted through the content analysis of 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 176 and 1988 local government reforms guidelines, 2014 Constitutional Conference Report and appropriation bills signed into laws before arriving at logical conclusions. The findings of the paper revealed that the constitutional provisions in section 7(1) of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria recognized local government as a third tier of government but empowered the state governor to be responsible for the establishment, structure, compositions, finance and functions of such councils. This inconsistency in constitutional provision formed the bases for the arbitrary dissolution of democratic local government and subsequent replacement with a Caretaker Committee appointed by the state governor. The paper recommended the amendment of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in order to accommodate 4 years tenure for political officers at the local government level. Also, elections should be organized as at when due to avoid vacuum in government. Above, all, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should be responsible for the conduct and management of elections at the local government levels in order to check the excesses of state governments. Key words: Local government, Caretaker Committee, Fiscal Federalism, Intergovernmental Relations, Constitution.