The uncertainty over the fate of Governor Idris Wada in the inconclusive governorship election in his state has not stopped him from also putting the lower level political actors at the local government level in a state of uncertainty.

By Kingsley Fanwo

Governor Idris Wada, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the inconclusive election is now pulling all levers and fighting back where he can to hold on to his seat.

He has as part of his strategies set his sight on the local government chairmen in the state.

The council chairmen had been sacked from office last year upon the order of a Kotonkarfe High Court on the application of Mr. James Ocholi, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who is presently the minister of state for labour and employment.

The action was upon what he claimed was the fact that the State Independent Electoral Commission, SIEC, was not properly constituted when the election was done.

However, though Ocholi is a member of the APC, nearly every political stakeholder in Kogi believes that Governor Wada had a hand in the case as he was said to be  not also comfortable with many of the council chairmen. So when the government appealed the case many people were surprised but Wada was, however, brought to his wits end when the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of their reinstatement of the council chairmen.

Defection to APC

The governor inevitably played into the hands of his detractors when he dilly-dallied on the issue and promised to reinstate them only after the election.

Wada

It was as such not surprising that ahead of the election many of the council chairmen all of who were elected on the platform of the PDP, who did not defect to the APC even worked against him within the PDP.

Following the governorship election, the governor is  now fighting back as he this week instructed that the council chairmen be reinstated with the exception of 15 Council Chairmen that either decamped to the APC or worked discreetly against his second term ambition.

The circular directing the Local Government Chairmen to resume office also named the Council Chairmen, who had lost their seats by virtue of their defection from the party that sponsored theirelection.

Analysts are of the opinion that if the governor had acted in line with the constitution, a political solution would have been employed to resolve the issue.

Lawyers in the state raise the scenario of both the Chairmen and their deputies decamping, a situation which may necessitate conducting fresh elections as the Council Leaders cannot become substantive chairmen.

A sacked Chairman, who craved anonymity, told Vanguard that they have instructed their lawyers to study the situation and look at the possibility of instituting a legal action against the governor.

“It is unfortunate that the governor has turned himself to a judge in his own case. Wada has no power to interpret the constitution. When some governors defected from the PDP to the APC, Goodluck Jonathan didn’t declare their seats vacant. The governor will soon find out he has out-stepped his boundaries”.

Defending the governor’s action, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Richard Elesho said the governor did not act contrary to law. He said by defecting from their parties, the Chairmen know the implications of their action.

Elesho said: “ I think we shouldn’t make a big issue out of this. The chairmen defected from their parties. They know the implications of their actions. If the governor had allowed them to continue in office, it would have amounted to rape on the constitution. Gov. Wada is a law abiding governor and that was why he ensured the chairmen were relieved of their positions”.

The Beginning of the Battle

In the build up to the 2015 general elections, the Council Chairmen didn’t read the body language of Lugard House on some of the aspirants, a situation that set them on the war path against the governor.

Also, the governor alleged that some of the chairmen were enmeshed in corruption in their councils. Many of them were fingered in corrupt practices and maladministration.

Issues get to a head when the former Chairman of Dekina Local Government Area, Hon. Mohammed Ali was ousted from office by the Legislative Council.

Ali, the former Chairman of the Northern Nigeria Conference of Local Government Chairmen, was said to be highly influential. The collision was believed to be the beginning of Wada’s altercation with the Council Chiefs.

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