Challenges Facing Delta State Local Government Election
By Godday Odidi
The anticipated Delta State Local Government elections which was originally scheduled for September this year was grossly procrastinated and inaugurated Transition Committee Chairmen by Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan , Delta State Governor to oversee the affairs of the local governments for six months before the slated date for the D- day local government elections in the State.
Barely one year ago, when the local government chairmen were abruptly removed from their offices by the Delta State governor for alleged corruption by some former local council officials and refused to conduct elections into the 25 local governments in the State. The facts that local governments are controlled by the State governments have directly affected the developmental progress of the local governments in recent times. Since Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan sacked the former local government chairmen before their tenures expired, many political ripples have greeted the political structure in State which many felt that PDP has lost its political direction in 2011 elections. The leadership style of the present governor in the State indicates that only those at the helm of affairs would benefit from the government. Though most of the former local government chairmen were intellectually involved in massive debauchery which led to the purported sack and daredevil chasing of these criminal elements by anti-graft agencies popularly called EFCC and ICPC. The refusal for the Delta state government to conduct free and fair elections can be traced to some political godfathers who have decided to make the state derision and disdain entity. It was only 23 Transition committee chairmen out of 25 local governments were sworn-in into power while the rest two has some scores to settle the government.
It is not only Delta state where the governor refused to conduct elections into their local governments but also due to unnecessary delays from powers that be while some local government elections were nullified and others could not continue their governments. Some states like Edo, Rivers, Bayelsa and others still not ready to conduct elections into the local governments by their state governors in spite that the National Assembly has compelled them to conduct elections which the methods they are presently operating is contrary to the 1999 amended constitution. Only few states have able to conduct elections into their local governments and nothing else. Out of the 25 local governments in Delta state, Isoko nation is having only two while infrastructural development is scared because those elected to pilot the affairs of these two local governments are mere criminal elements who are only interested in looting the local treasury.
One of the challenges in Delta state LG elections is the imposition of unpopular candidates on the masses in the state by godfathers and godmothers of Delta politics. The zoning arrangement of the PDP- led government in the local governments has equally created nefarious activities in the system. Even the local governments in the state are no longer nearer to the people while most of the local government chairmen live like president and governors in Nigeria.Isoko nation is yet to benefit from the Uduaghan-led government in the state. The local governments determine the success of 2015 governorship election in the state if not properly conducted to avert future crisis or corruption among government officials in the State.
The so-called three point agenda of Uduaghan is yet to bear fruition of governance while unscrupulous banning of motorcyclist popularly known as Okada which unlawful introduction of tricycle to the state has created another dimension of poverty among Delta youths within the state. The local government elections would determine the next governor of the state or the region that would eventually represent the people in 2015 when Governor Uduaghan would be out of power. The Urhobos and Aniomas have the highest local governments in the state while others are totally marginalized. If the local government elections continue to delay it would grossly affect the infrastructural development and growth if not checkmated. The appointment of Caretaker committee could also help promote corruption in the local governments. Uduaghan needed to explain to Deltans while unnecessary of LG elections after the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission has duly prepared for the election.
Finally, Deltans must not allow Uduaghan to kill Delta LG elections because of sentimental factors while opposition parties in the state must fight back if they need transformation of government now since PDP-led government has abysmally failed the people over the years.
By Godday Odidi
Public Affairs Public Affairs Analyst
20 oro street Ajegunle.