Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and billionaire businessman, Arthur Eze, and some other residents of the South-East region have challenged their governors to conduct local government elections in the states.
Ohanaeze in a statement by its spokesman, Chuks Ibegbu, blamed the Federal Government and the two arms of the National Assembly for not insisting that local government elections be conducted by state governors.
“If the electoral law has been signed by the President and states that refused to conduct local government elections are queried, I believe the situation will change.
“If nothing serious is done, the situation will definitely continue,” Ibegbu said in a statement.
This came as Anambra State-born business mogul and chieftain of All Progressives Congress, APC, Prince Arthur Eze, said he would ensure that all the monies that accrued to the 21 councils of Anambra State and spent by the appointed council leadership of the present administration in the state are refunded.
Despite the law on the autonomy of local government councils now in place in the country, in the South-East, only Enugu State is operating an elected council administration system.
In fact, it is the only state with the tradition of running the councils democratically in recent years.
In other states, the governors in collaboration with party leaders keep recycling their cronies as transition committee chairmen and members with little or no care for the welfare of the rural masses, thereby encourageing rural underdevelopment.
Worst still, resources due to these councils are hijacked by the governors who release pittance to the appointed cronies for staff salary.
Reacting to the development, Prince Arthur Eze said that the continued running of the council administration by transition committees has deprived the rural people their dividend of democracy and opportunity to actively participate in the nation’s democratic system.
Addressing a group of APC members under the umbrella of All Progressives Congress Elders Forum who paid him a visit at his Ukpo country home, ahead of Anambra 2021 governorship election, Eze claimed that he has been working hard to ensure that the South-East, particularly Anambra State, is fully linked to the federal administration.
The effort, he alleged has consistently been frustrated by the Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano, who he claimed recently, realised his mistakes and has apologised.
He said: “But Governor Willie Obiano has been undermining the efforts until he realised his futile efforts and retraced his steps only three days ago, when he called me and started apologising.
“I want him to know that since he has refused to hold local government elections since he took over power, he must be ready to vomit all the allocations and revenue of the councils at the end of his tenure.
“He will not go free. I have taken up the matter formally in writing with President Muhammadu Buhari, concerning all the governors, especially those of this geopolitical zone, who have refused to organise council elections but chose to unilaterally usurp the functions and finances of that level of government.
“They will all be called to account. None will get away with it.”
He welcomed the Forum and commended them for appointing him as their Grand Patron, pledging not to disappoint them in any way.
He also pledged his full support to ensure that APC takes over Anambra State in the 2021 governorship election.
In his remarks, a member of the Forum and former Vice-Chancellor of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Professor Paul Orajiaka, commended the efforts of Eze to ensure that Anambra State is governed by the ruling party.
He likened Prince Eze’s style of politics to that of late Nnamdi Azikiwe, who preached and wanted a political philosophy of one united Nigeria where peace and enterprise thrive.
In his own remarks, the Forum’s Director of Communications and former Majority Leader of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Humphrey Nsofor, explained that the visit was to seek Prince Eze’s support to re-launch selfless service and committed development in the state beginning with the coming governorship poll.
The group said they will work hard to ensure that Anambra is won by APC and aligns with the federal government, assuring that their party has what it takes to chart a new course for Anambra State.
Nsofor said: “We had somehow allowed ourselves to be sabotaged out of the federal administration, where the state government manipulates itself into the central government at the expense of the ruling party and its members in Anambra.
“It happened with the former People’s Democratic Party, PDP-led Federal Government and repeated with the present APC-led Federal Government.”
He accused PDP and the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, that had governed the state of “serially failing the state and her citizens.”