Heads for court
From Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
All Progressives Congress (APC), Anambra State chapter, yesterday rejected the appointment of local government transition committees for the 21 local government areas of the state by Governor Willie Obiano, vowing to challenge the action in court.
The party argued that the appointment of transition committees for the local governments negates the provision of Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which stipulates that there shall be elected local government chairmen across the country.
Addressing newsmen at the party’s secretariat, Awka, the state chairman, Mr Emeka Ibe, alleged that Obiano intends to rig the November 18 governorship election in the state with the local government caretaker committees.
In a swift reaction, the Special Assistant to the governor on Media, Strategic Communications and Assembly Matters, Prince Oliver Okpala described the allegation as frivolous and baseless. He said the governor did not need the committees to win the forthcoming election as he had achieved much in the state.
“The allegation is frivolous and baseless; the governor had taken a constitutional step to democratise the local government system by appointing transition committee members as required by Section 7 of the Nigerian Constitution.
“The transition committee arrangement will put in motion the election of chairmen and councillors into the local governments as soon as possible.”
Governor Obiano had on Tuesday inaugurated transition chairmen for 21 local governments of the state following their confirmation and that of 326 members earlier in the day by the state House of Assembly.
The APC state chairman told newsmen that appointment, confirmation and subsequent inauguration of the transition committees is illegal, unconstitutional and an aberration.
“It is a pity that Anambra State is moving to the days of backwardness, lawlessness and impunity.
“What is happening now across the country is that people are fixing dates for the election of council chairmen, but here, the governor has brazenly appointed caretaker committee members at the council areas which is unlawful.
“We in APC are against what the governor has done. There is a suit in court instituted by our party, praying the court to compel the governor to conduct local government election before the scheduled November 18 governorship poll.
“We are calling on the governor to, as a matter of urgency dissolve the transition caretaker committee chairmen and councillors and conduct council election before the governorship poll, because we will not recognise them.”
The governor, he said preempted the judgment of the party’s pending matter by quickly sending a list of the transition committee members on Monday for the House of Assembly to approve the next day, Tuesday.
“But, l want to tell you that we shall go back to the CJ’s court to challenge the matter.
“We believe that the reason for the governor to take the action during this election was for him to use the transition chairmen to raise money for his election by collecting the federal allocation due them and give them a paltry sum since they were not elected.”
However, the governor’s aide, Okpala, in his reaction said: “The appointment has no political undertone and nobody should interpret it so. The purpose is not for having upper hand in the election.
“Governor Obiano does not need to set up any transitional committee to win the election because his achievements speak volumes in terms of provision of abundant democratic dividends to the nooks and crannies of Anambra state. Because of his achievements in governance in Anambra State today, no political party in the state can compete or match APGA in any political theatre or election.”