Sunday, 2 April 2017

IPAC, APC, PRP, others unite for a showdown with Obiano over LG Caretaker Committee



By Okechukwu Onuegbu

Some opposition political parties in Anambra State have come hard on the state executive arms of government over the recent appointed of Local Government Area Transition committee (TC) members, describing it as unconstitutional and conspiracy to thwart the democracy principles and 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria (as amended).

Governor Willie Obiano had on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 transited a letter and list of his appointed 21 TC Chairmen and 328 TC councilors to the State House of Assembly, who subsequently approved it the same day, prompting the governor to further, swore them at night of the same day in governor’s lodge.

The appointees into the 21 Local Governemnt  Area of Anambra state include: Eche Ezeibe (Aguata), Pius Ifeadi (Anambra East),  Collins Nwabunwanne (Anambra West), Ejimofor Ikeobi (Anaocha), Onwuzuka Lawrence Emeka (Awka North), Leo Iwoba (Awka South), Ken Okolo (Ayamelum), Uchenna Omerie (Dunukofia), Oforgeme Ikenna (Ekwusigo).

Others were Asha Nnabuife (Idemili North), Don Unachukwu (Idemili South), Ifeanyichukwu Odumegwu (Ihiala), Ozoh George Edozie (Njikoka), Chukwudi Orizu (Nnewi North), Felix Odumegwu (Nnewi South), Ezediokpu Ignatius (Ogbaru), Patrick Aghamba (Onitsha North), Emeka Asoanya (Onitsha South), Emeka Aforka (Orumba North), Barrister Raymond Onyema (Orumba South) and Uchenna Okafor (Oyi).

Before the announcement of the TC members, there has been uproar in some communities and council areas over who becomes what with assurances to the power brokers of ensuring Governor Willie Obiano’s second term bid.

While the freshers in the political space jostle to make marks in the forth coming election, former chairmen of council areas argued that they have been tested and trusted in grassroots moblisation and can do better in securing the Governor’s second term ambition.

Obiano latter yielded to the pressure of appointing most of the chairmen of various local governments elected on the APGA platform in 2014.

In separate interviews with News48hour.com, the disgruntled political parties including the Progressives Peoples’ Alliance (PPA), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), and All Progressives Congress (APC), insisted that the use of TC members instead of conducting local government poll as enshrined in the constitution amounts to illegality and denial of people’s right to chose representative at the third tiers of the government.

The Anambra State Chairman, Progressive Peoples’ Alliance (PPA), Mathias Ameke, while describing it as an impeachable offence, explained that it contravened the provisions on Chapter 7 and Schedule 4 of 1999 Constitution (as amended), and amounts to fragrant abuse of power.

“This is governor Obiano and APGA’s stock in trade. And it is bane of development, insecurity and agricultural development. There is no way it is provided in the constitution that a state government should make policies to exclude people from choosing their representative. It is totally against the principles of democracy which allows conduct of local government election to guarantee peoples’ right to vote and be voted for.   

“But I will blame the state legislators, who after using the same masses vote to gain political power, connived with the executive to deny the same electorates power to exercise their franchise. It is a crime Obiano and APGA administrations are continuously perpetuating.

“But I am promising Anambrarians that these things would soon become history as our candidate takes over government house after the 2017 gubernatorial poll” Ameke added.   

Also responding, the APC Publicity Secretary, Okalo Madukife, hinted that it was not only a rape on the judiciary but a direct slap on the face of democracy in Anambra State.

According to him, “Gov. Obiano is fully aware of, and the government of Anambra State which he heads is a party in a suit filed by APC Local Government Candidates in the botched 2015 Local Government polls which ought to be subsisting at the moment.

“Section 208 of the 1999 Anambra State Local Government Act, which ‘empowers ‘the governor to appoint LG Chairmen and enables the State House of Assembly to approve them ‘whenever it is not possible to hold local government elections’ is being challenged in that suit for which judgment is deliberately being preempted by the governor.

“It is a timely reminder that Anambra State cannot afford to re-elect a despot who demolished all the democratic structures he met, killed all the checks and balances he inherited, took advantage of the created loopholes to hang suffocating debt on the state, launder LG funds and still beat his chest about erecting three structurally defective obstacles on the Enugu Onitsha Freeway.

“Anambra State requires leaders who can be respectful to judicial proceedings and obey the laws of the land to avert chaos. But beyond that the 21 characters illegally and hurriedly nominated, and hurriedly and illegally rubber-stamped by a sitting duck of a one-party legislature headed by an incompetent woman are portray the real intent of the eleventh-hour dry joke from Obiano.

“Their illegal appointment, illegal rubber-stamping, midnight swearing in, building up to illegal assumption of office shall not stand. This is the view of Ndi Anambra and APC will see it through. Our great party will have more to say about these sad developments in the coming days and weeks. In the interim, we urge the Judiciary in Anambra State to assert their independent, as a date with history.”

Also speaking, the Anambra State Chairman, Peoples Redemption Party, PRP, Mathias Aninwachukwu, while kicking against the transition committee members, called the state legislatures and executive to quickly reverse their action, and reconstitute the state ANSIEC to fast tract conduct of local government election.

But the acting chairman of the state's chapter of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Kate Oby Okafor saw it as curious step that the council has chosen to maintain a studied observing distance.

Okafor who is also the state chairman of the Advance Congress for Democrats(ACD) noted that, "we have before now made repeated appeals followed up with discussions to Gov Obiano on the need to organize council elections. Progress was being made before this new development and since IPAC is not in any way an opposition party, we can only advise.

Also speaking, the state chairman of Hope Democratic Party (HDP), Chief Sam Oraegbunam saw the governor's action as "the dimension of the series of circles of political deception of citizens of the state. It has become a pattern for the All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA) led state administration to usually pull a stunt of political deception on the citizens of the state whenever a major election is around the corner. So his is just a continuation of such condemnable act. But history will judge them in due time."

The MPPP deputy National chairman (South East), Chief A K Opia noted that "it could also be for Obiano's next term because such transition committees manage the affairs of governance between outgoing and incoming administrations.

"The Local Government level is the third tier of government in Nigeria. We hope the Transition Committee antics is not aimed at subverting the Nigerian Constitution and the rights of Anambra citizens to be governed by their elected representatives and thereby put state resources in the hands of political traders and labourers. If so, then the state of affairs in Anambra state has moved from governance to gangsterism.” 
Responding, the APGA Secretary, Barr. Anthony Ifeanya said that the political parties argument hold no water, because according to him, the amended section of 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria empowers the governor to appoint TC members.

“Governor Obiano has the right to appoint caretaker members pending the conduct of local government election. If some political parties are disgruntled over the appointment, I will advise them to go and rest because our governor has the right to do what he did. They should have gone to court to obtain injunction to stop him before the pronouncement was made” he said.  



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