WITH the impending expiration of the tenure of local government chairmen in Enugu State, the state government has been cautioned not to appoint Transition Committee Chairmen or any group under any appellation other than democratically elected chairmen after December 4.
Curious that there is no evidence of any preparations for elections, the African Peoples Alliance (APA) says nothing short of local government election will be acceptable to the party and other residents of the state.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu, the state chairman of the party, Mr Chukwunonso Ogbe said that the party was confounded that few days to the expiration of the tenure of the incumbent chairmen, the state government had not shown any readiness for election.
According to him, “the state government has forced us into a constitutional quagmire, and we must not sit and allow it to use caretaker chairmen to run the third tier of government.
“It is our right to choose our political leaders through a free and fair democratic process as guaranteed under Article 13 of the African Charter.”
Ogbe said that anything short of outright election would be an infringement on the fundamental rights of residents of the state, which he said must not go unchallenged.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Local Government, Mr Peter Okonkwo had indicated that the government was aware of the expiration of the tenure of the chairman and would in November make its position known on the conduct of local government election.
Not impressed with the “woeful and pitiable,” performance of the outgoing local government chairmen, Ogbe said that “most of the local government chairmen emerged through a quasi democratic manner. It is a process that did not truly reflect true democratic principles and that is why they are not independent minded and have not performed.
Ogbe claimed that the financial autonomy of the third tier of government had been undermined by the willingness of the chairmen to compromise their positions, as “they have done nothing compared to the huge allocations and the internally generated revenue they get.
“If they claim to be financially independent, they should show us the projects they have done. If the chairmen had emerged through the wish of the people, they will be independent minded and deliver on their mandates.”
But the Chairman of Enugu South LGA, Mr Sunday Ugwu, during the Good Governance Tour of local undertaken by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the state, commended the state government for giving them the free hand to operate.