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Published On: Thu, Mar 14th, 2013

Reactions Trail Uduaghan Delay in Conducting LG Election

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By Omafume Amurun
With less than two months to the end of the tenure of the recently inaugurated Local Government caretaker committees in Delta state, it is now certain that the State government has no intention of having a democratically elected local government councils in the nearest future.
Just as reported recently by the Urhobo Times, most of the aspirants both in the ruling party and the most serious opposition party the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) have since discovered that the State government was playing on their intelligence and local government elections may not hold even this year.

Late last year, the state government sent the names of a 10-member Delta State Independent Electoral Commission, (DSIEC ) to the House of Assembly. They were Mr. Akpoyama Moses Ogbe as Chairman while Mr. David Johnson, Mr. Ewere Eluebo, Chief John Ulebe, Dr. Emibra Agbeotu, Mr. Bright Igbako, Mr. Anthony Obi, Mrs. Suzan Babajide, Mr. Jude Emurotu and Mr. Peter Okpu as proposed members. Mr. Ogbe, was a resident electoral commissioner, REC, Lagos State, where the Action Congress of Nigeria (A.C.N) defeated their strongest rivals, the PDP from the Governorship to the legislative elections.
After disqualifying two members of the DSIEC, nothing has been heard from the so-called electoral body on the preparation for local government elections which seemed to indicate that the government has no intention of conducting local government elections in the nearest
future. Comedians have now started to make a mockery of the state government
various statement on its intention to conduct local government elections soon. A Chairmanship aspirant of the ruling party was said to have spent about N10 million preparing for the “forthcoming local government elections” which they had since discovered to be a mirage.
Various persons contacted to speak on the sad situation of the refusal of the state government to conduct local government elections, declined comment, as they seemed to be fed up with the current situation in the state.
But recently while speaking on the issue, Former Governorship candidate of the Mega Peoples Progressive Party (MPPP) called on Governor Uduaghan to set up machinery for early conduct of local government elections. He told the Urhobo Times that it was unconstitutional for Uduaghan to continue to scuttle grass roots democracy by refusing to conduct local government
“Governorship candidates that won their wards are demanding for immediate conduct of local government elections so that we can control our wards. Uduaghan must show that he is a true democrat. What he is doing shows that he is a pretender. He is doing everything on his
own without the interest of the masses. It shows that nobody voted for him. It also shows that Uduaghan did not win the governorship elections.
In his comment, Comrade Sheriff Mulade, National Coordinator, Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), said it is unfortunate that the governor was playing politics with the LG elections. “This Governor has said that the State will hold LG elections this year.
Therefore let us wait, but I am very sure that elections will not hold this year, I am sure the governor has abandoned his primary responsibility of governance for personal interest in 2015.”
He spoke further, “Deltans are now like a cow that knows his faith at the slaughter house. We have lost confidence in Uduaghan’s government. His three point agenda are to cajole Deltans and Nigerians. They are actually meant for himself, his wife and children not four Deltans.
Therefore the present government is ready to do anything that will silence oppositions in the state. It is worthy to note that we are playing politics of lunatics in Nigeria”.
According to him, Delta has become a family and associates where citizens are strangers. “Deltans must emulate the South west advocacy for good government and drop the garment of fear. This government has ruined Deltan’s future”.
Also Commenting, Human Rights Activisits, Com. Omems Ogedegbe said ”the delay in the conduct of local government election is the most unconstitutional blunder in recent times as by virtue of Section 7(1) of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999 provides that the local government
system should be run by democratically elected officials. The constitution created the council and states the pattern of its administration. To divert or delay in the Conduct of the election is
He claimed that Governor Uduaghan was failing to conduct the election out of sheer greed as he now act as the defacto local government chairman with little or no allocation to the running of the council by the HPM, who just watch aloof and our aspirants interested in contesting the election who ought to challenge this illegality, have chosen to remain mute in fear of the Governor running against their interest. “We have waited for the election and shall institute an
action in this regard as enough is enough”.
Also Commenting, the Comrade Austin Ozobo, National Coordinator, Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative(IPDI) said the Governor Uduaghan considered the present system with Higher Personal Managers(HPM) as lucrative business and very easy way to disburse public funds as he likes. He said Gov. Uduaghan action was inimical to grass roots democratic development Also recently, Human rights activist and currently, Resident Electoral
Commissioner, Cross Rivers State, Barr. Mike Igini has slammed Governors that have
refused to conduct local government elections and those running the third tier of government with caretaker committees.
In his words, “My idea on the issue are sufficiently well known; it has been published in the newspapers. That in places where L.G.A elections have not been conducted, it is a total violation of Section 7 of the constitution, it is the only Section that used ‘Guarantee’ and that is the problem we are having in the country that our democracy is not on sound footing.

“All these Caretakers Committees, they are complete aberration and a breach of the Constitution for which I have called on the National Assembly not to release money for L.G.A to the states, where L.G.A elections have not been conducted”.
Barr. Igini who spoke to Journalists at the venue of the opening ceremony of the 2012 Law Week of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Warri Branch, decried a situation where most of the State Governors hide under one technicality or the other and refuse to conduct elections into the Local Government Areas in their states, but were allowed to receive Federal Allocations for such councils. “I deplore situations whereby State Governors failed to conduct elections into their Local Government Areas. These councils are the closest to the people at the grassroots and yet were denied the benefits of that tier of government.
“I therefore implore the National Assembly to pass a bill that will suspend Federal Allocations to Local Government Areas not constituted in line with the provision of the constitution. Such Allocations must be held in trust for such councils, pending when proper Executives are
put in place”, he said.

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