Posted by News Express | 20 August 2020 | 440 times
By PAMELA EBOH, Awka
Contrary to the stand of the Anambra State Government that it has been unable to conduct local government election in the state because of a subsisting court injunction, a former Council Chairman of Awka South Local Government Area, Prince Azubuike Iloh, has dismissed the claim as false.
He insisted that there was no court injunction preventing the conduct of local government polls in the state.
The State Government had said that council election was not held in the state because of a court case which has not been discharged.
Former Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC) Chairman, Prof Titus Eze, had gone to court following his removal from office, insisting that his five year tenure had not ended.
Though the case was not discharged, former Governor Peter Obi still conducted local government election before he left.
That is the case incumbent Governor Willie Obiano’s government is citing as the reason for not conducting local government election in the state.
Iloh called on Governor Obiano to respect and obey the court order mandating him to prepare grounds for local government elections to hold in the state.
He said: “We will challenge the powers of the House of Assembly in court and there is no court injunction stopping conduct of local government elections rather there is a court order by the former Chief Judge of Anambra state directing the state government to hold local government elections within 90 days.
“That order is now obeyed in breach because what the state government did was to file notice of appeal in the Court of Appeal Enugu and dumped it there. So the state government is the one holding the order in breach.”
The former council boss who spoke in Awka regretted that since elected council chairmen vacated office in 2016, election to replace them became a foregone history, thereby crippling development at the grassroots.
He said: “The issue of local government election has been a sore point in the politics of this state. We left office 2016 and since that time, no local government election has been conducted in the state to fill the gap that we left. They have been using ad-hoc arrangements to run the local governments, which is against the Nigerian Constitution.
“The consistent reshuffling of Transition Committee Chairmen is a negation of the constitution and such contraption is not only fraudulent but also a conduit pipe used to siphon local government funds.
“Transition committee members are appendages of the government in power. As non-elected members of local government councils, they lack powers to take decisions or make policies that would have direct impact on the lives of those in the countryside.
"Most times the transition contraption is done to give leeway for certain fraudulent activities to take place in the local government system which in the fullness of time the authorities will still have to check the papers of the local governments to know how local governments have been run.”
While saying that he left the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) due to high level of mediocrity, he lamented that people with no known source of income were placed at the helm of affairs of the party.
He dismissed the impossibility of the incumbent governor facing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over misappropriation of local government funds.
The chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) added that a lot of governors have had problems with the EFCC because of local government funds and running of it.
Iloh insisted that the House of Assembly has no powers to renew or elongate the tenure of transition committees, saying that their powers resided within the purview of regulating the local government administration and not to scuttle the provisions of the Nigerian constitution that guaranteed democratic system in the running of local governments.
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