From Rose Ejembi and Scholastica Onyeka, Makurdi
Leading political parties in Benue State, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Labour Party (LP) – have engaged in a war of words over the passage of the Local Government Autonomy Bill.
Trouble started after the state Assembly allegedly sat and failed to give their nod to the most agitated LG autonomy bill.
While the APC and Labour party view the Benue State House of Assembly’s vote against local government autonomy as a show of total disconnect and insensitivity to the plight of people at the grassroots, the PDP said the APC should stop pointing accusing fingers at the state Assembly and see their party as solely responsible for the failure of the bill.
The APC had, in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Daniel Ihomun, expressed dismay over the rejection of the proposed autonomy for local governments by the Titus Uba-led Benue State House of Assembly.
The APC said the action of the Assembly members was not only insensitive to the plight of the people but also callous, undemocratic, and wicked.
They warned the Uba-led Benue Assembly to be ready to face the wrath of the people in 2023 if it fails to account for why it jettisoned the golden opportunity to add its voice to the clamour for LG Autonomy by voting against it without recourse to the people.
Also, the Labour Party in Benue state, in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Kengkeng Ati, condemned the action of the Assembly, and demanded it not only apologise to the Benue people but also rescinds the “anti people’s verdict with a unanimous and overwhelming yes to the LG Autonomy question.”
According to the LP, “Anything short of this, the 9th Assembly and its members will be boldly taking their shameful place on the wrong side of history.
“The onus now lies on the teeming masses of Benue’s suffering population to diligently prosecute and ensure the meticulous annihilation of these detrimental forces in the forthcoming ballot-based revolution of 2023.”
But in a swift reaction, the Benue PDP, in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Bemgba Iortyom, lampooned the APC for accusing the Benue State House of Assembly and its Speaker, Titus Uba, of scuttling the passage of the LG Autonomy Bill.
He said the APC’s resort to labelling Uba as an enemy of the people over the matter was politically motivated being that he is the 2023 governorship candidate of the PDP.
The party noted that APC wields majority control in both chambers of the National Assembly where assent to the Bill should be galvanised and permeated down to the state assemblies saying, “Benue PDP holds that it is APC with majority control of the legislative arms of government, both at the national and state levels, that stands as an obstacle to Local Government Autonomy.
“The minority votes of the PDP controlled states assemblies both in 2018 and 2022 failed in getting the Bill passed into law owing to lack of support from APC controlled states, and the opposition party’s confused local chapter in Benue should stop trying to be clever by half, by seeking to make a scapegoat out of the Benue State House of Assembly.”