Reported By A Citizen Reporter
The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Anambra State Branch has called on the Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano to urgently commence processes towards the return of democratically elected officials at the local government levels in the state.
CLO in a press statement yesterday in Onitsha signed by State Chairman, Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme and Campaign/ Publicity Secretary, Nicholas Amoke said the return to Caretaker and Head of Service arrangement in the administration of the local government system in Anambra is not only an misnomer but a violation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
The CLO recalled that the last local government election in the state conducted by former Governor, Peter Obi took place on January 11th 2014 and their swearing in on 16th January 2014 for a two-year tenure which elapsed on January 15th 2016.
The Human Rights and Pro-Democracy group said Governor Obiano acting under a strange law extended the tenure of the elected council officials for three months and later extended it indefinitely under transition committee until he recently dissolved them and ordered the Head of Personnel Management in the councils to take over the administration at the local councils.
Citing a recent land mark judgment of the Supreme Court, the CLO reminded Obiano that Governors have no constitutional authority to appoint caretaker committees for local governments. The CLO expressed regret that the main objectives for the creation of local government system in Nigeria which includes political participation, effective service delivery, resources and grassroots mobilisation are now in serious jeopardy in Anambra if absolute autonomy and full democratization are not granted to the local councils.
They called on the Federal Government and the National Assembly to ensure financial and political autonomy for the local governments while the accruing benefits should be withdrawn from states that fail to democratize their local government system.
“Governor Obiano should reconstitute the Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC) and also allocate funds for the conduct of Local Government election as a matter of utmost importance because transition committee is totally alien to the Nigerian Constitution. It is also of prime importance to implement the need for the outright removal of joint State and Local Government accounts that has led to the blatant misappropriation and mismanagement of funds meant for Local Governments by the Governors” the CLO stated.