From Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia
Abia State Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC) said it has scheduled local government election for Saturday, December 17, 2016.
This decision followed last week’s directive by the state government after its executive council meeting directing the state Independent Electoral Commission to organise election into the 17 local government areas.
Announcing the date, the Chairman of the commission, Justice Igbozuruike Akomas, notified the public that elections would hold into the 17 chairmanship seats and 292 councillorship seats on Saturday, December 17, 2016.
He said “the development is in exercise of the powers conferred on the commission by Part 11, Third Schedule, Section 4, Sub-section (a) and (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and pursuant to the Fifth Schedule, Section 160 of Abia State Local Government Law No. 9 of 2002.”
Justice Akomas, urged interested candidates of political parties wishing to participate in the said election to obtain nomination forms from the headquarters of the commission “not later than October 14, 2016.”
He also said the details of the planned polls would be made available to all the parties concerned soon.
The Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, Chief Ukpai Agwu Ukpai, in his reaction, applauded it as being in conformity with the dictates of the constitution, saying also that it was a process towards strengthening democracy in the state.
Ukpai said since he assumed office, Governor Ikpeazu had ensured that the funds accruing to the local government areas of the state were expended purely for the council areas, which he said was the reason Transition Committee chairmen had been embarking on projects and provision of skill for their constituents.
By conducting council election, Ukpai said the Governor was also fulfilling his campaign promises to the electorates, pointing out that the council polls would further deepen democracy in the rural areas.
“I believe that what the governor is doing is in line with the promises he made to the people of the state when he was soliciting for their votes. He told them that he would conduct council polls within the first two years and that is what we are seeing today.
“There is no ulterior motive in the decision of the governor to conduct local government polls. Governor Ikpeazu is not a person that would want to take the people for a ride. He is a democrat and very interested in deepening democracy in Nigeria.
“It is now left for political parties and interested chairmanship and councillorship aspirants to take advantage of the information to prepare themselves for the poll as soon as ABSIEC releases the process,” Ukpai said.