BY ENYIM ENYIM
PRINCE Chuma Ojukwu is an Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, chieftain in Anambra state. He is one of those working silently to change the ruling party in that state to the Action Congress of Nigeria. He is a die hard supporter and right hand man of former governor turned Senator Dr Chris Ngige. According to him, the party to beat in that state today is the ACN
In this interview , he bared his mind on the recent Enugu Court of Appeal judgement on the election petition by former Minister of Information, Prof Dora Akunyili against Senator Chris Ngige and other burning national issues.
ON the Court of Appeal in Enugu striking out the petition of Prof. Dora Akunyili against Senator Chris Ngige.
First, that court of Appeal judgment is justice for democracy. That the judgment that gave Senator Chris Ngige Victory against Prof. Dora Akunyili is a victory for the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN and shows that ACN is the party to beat in future. It has brightened the hope of ACN for the next general elections in the country.
Secondly, that judgment shows that the judiciary is still alive to its primary duty of dispensing justice in Nigeria, and I say a big Kudos to the Nigerian Judiciary particularly the Enugu Court of Appeal that refused to compromise their duty for any reason. I advice other judges and magistrates to follow that step in the dispensation of justice in their respective courts.
For 13 years now there has been no local government election in Anambra state. What is ACN’s position on this?
It is very unfortunate that the past and present governments in the state have not deemed it necessary to conduct local government elections in Anambra state. It is against the tenets of democracy and the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria where section 7 stipulates that there shall be democratically elected local government chairmen and councilors at the local government level.
And the reason is to make sure that democracy dividend would be enjoyed by the people at the grass roots. So, the non conduct of council poll in the state has denied the people at the grassroots democracy dividend. I must tell you that the non conduct of the local government election has in no small way slowed down development in the 21 council areas of the state. If the present government in the state truly has the interest, the welfare of the people at heart, it should as a matter of urgency conduct the local government election before this year runs out.
Government’s flimsy excuses
The people of Anambra, paticularly members of my party, the ACN are tired of government’s flimsy excuses for not conducting the council poll.
What is your take on running the 21 local governments in the state with transition care taker committee chairmen?
You see, running the local governments with transition caretaker committee members is unconstitutional, ultra vies and an aberration. It is a breach on the provision of the 1999 constitution as amended. Again, the House of Assembly members are not helping issues as they have continued to not only approve the setting up of transition committee members but elongated their tenure to 12 months.
And I tell you that Anambraians, even those in APGA are not comfortable with the political arrangement at the third tier of government. The law makers should reverse themselves in the laws that have given the governor the power to appoint caretaker committees to run the local governments or face recall by the people of their respective constituencies.
Is it proper for the federal government to continue to release council allocation to the Anambra State?
It is not proper. The Federal Government should stop releasing the local government allocation to the state government until the council poll is held. That money is supposed to go directly to democratically elected chairmen in the 21 local governments of the state for even development of the council areas.
I thank God that the Senate and the House of Representatives have already kicked against the release of the allocation of local government to the state government. And I urge them not to relent in their struggle to make sure that this comes to fruition.
What is your take on the state/local government joint account?
My take on that is that it should be scrapped. The joint account has not favoured the local governments.