May 19, 2024

LP lawmaker, Ogene, faults Soludo’s move to appoint 8th set of LGA chairmen in two years

Your treatment of traditional institutions dictatorial, youth group tells Soludo

By Vincent Ujumadu

THE member representing Ogbaru Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Afam Ogene, has faulted the decision of Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State to appoint another set of local government transition chairmen, making it the 8th time since he assumed office two years ago.

In a statement in Awka, Ogene described Soludo’s action as ridiculous, undemocratic, abuse of power and unfair to the developmental dreams of the people of the state.

The lawmaker was reacting to the directive by the state government to stakeholders of the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, to nominate three persons for consideration for appointment as transition chairmen for the 21 local government areas of the state. The serving TC chairmen we’re given May 20, 2024 to hand over the heads of service of local government administration, pending the appointment of new ones.

Interested persons within APGA have also been asked to submit their curriculum vitae through the office of APGA local government chairmen in their areas.

Unhappy with the development, Ogene, who is the Labour Party’s House of Representatives caucus leader said: “Records show that Governor Soludo changes LGA Transition Committee members every three months, and  he had made these curious changes seven times since assumption of office in 2022.

“By the time he makes another of such  appointment this month, that would be the 8th time within two years in office.

 “That to me, would be an inglorious record by a democratically elected governor. This puppeteering style of leadership, which toys with the destiny, aspiration and desires of the grassroots, must be resisted and not allowed to continue to shrink the development potential of the LGAs.

“The local government ought to be the most important tier of government, as envisaged by the Nigerian Constitution, because it’s not only the tier that is closest to the people, but also the obvious foundation of both the subnational and the federal government. It should not be at the whims of state governors.

 “Such undemocratic practice of appointing LGA administrators, rather than democratic election, is an enabler of impunity and lack of democratic accountability and also hurts transparency in the local governments and the state as a whole, as those so appointed would only scramble for personal interests during the three months of their stay in office. This does not help the management of scarce resources or the development of the LGAs.

He asked: “What manner of meaningful development plan would a TC chairman articulate and execute within a period of three months? Isn’t it troubling that Governor Soludo, a prominent economist, is promoting this charade, contrary to all the economic indices that point to the decreasing economic and social fortunes of the people in the grassroots as a result of the shrinking presence of government development activities in the rural areas?

“What really is Governor Soludo afraid of in conducting elections in the LGAs, in line with his campaign promises and the desires of the people at the grassroots and provisions of the Constitution? “

Ogene observed that other states, such as Delta, Lagos, Edo, Rivers, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, etc hold elections in the third -tier of government, no matter how imperfect, wondering why Governor Soludo should be appointing and discarding LGA administrators as if they are used tissue papers?

Recall that Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, in Anambra State have consistently been reminding Governor Soludo of his campaign promise that he would conduct local government election within six months of assuming office, wondering why the governor had reneged on that promise.

Only last Thursday, the Nigerian Senate also accused state governors of misappropriating funds allocated to local government councils in Nigeria by failing to democratize the third -tier of government.

According to the Senate, that arm of government has been made to die in the country, as a result of the overwhelming powers of the state governors, lamenting that the dream of achieving the objectives of the local government system has encountered harsh realities as successive governments have often eroded local autonomy, limiting their financial resources and control over decision-making.

The Senate, consequently asked the federal government to stop further allocation of funds to caretaker committee-led local government areas and urged President Bola Tinubu to, as a matter of urgency, champion the cause of full autonomy for local governments in the country.