Barely two days after the Imo State chapter of the All progressive congress (APC) led by Chief Marcon Nlemigbo dissociated their party from a recently organized protest which saw some stern looking young men, said to be hired from neigbouring towns around Imo invading the various council headquarters, the Special Adviser to the governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon Mayor Eze Chukwudi, has taken a swipe at the protesters, describing them as lawless, reckless and irresponsible.
Hon Eze who spoke to Newsmen in Owerri, yesterday said that those who invaded the council headquarters are in court challenging their suspension and wondered why they should resort to brute force to gain access into the council headquarters and dislodge well-constituted authorities.
He said, “There is no court judgement served the government of Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha regarding reinstatement of suspended local government chairmen and councilors.
“All I know is that they are still in court challenging their suspension and one expects them to wait for the matter to be decided either in their favour or in favour of government”.
He noted that it is unbelievable that in a democratic society like Nigeria, a group of persons could march to the local government headquarters in deliberate and bizarre attempt to topple government at that level, without recourse to the constitution.
He described APC leaders who clandestinely sponsored the protest as not qualified to operate in any sane or democratic society. “Why are they hiding? They should show themselves to Imo people instead of using innocent youths who they impoverished for eight (8) years to carry out their dastardly and nefarious act”, Eze queried.
He regretted the reported death of a youth who was among those allegedly used to cause uprising in the council headquarters across the state and consequently cautioned Imo youths to refrain from being used by politicians for thuggery.
According to the Ikenga Orlu, “Imo people should go for thanksgiving over exit of APC in Imo, arguing that the invasion of the local governments areas,like their proposed shadow government, have further exposed the past administration as lawless, hence the reason the electorate rejected them in 2019.
He used the opportunity to thank Imo people and the local government staff for resisting such hatchet plan to destablize the State. “As an appointee of the government, I was in my house. I didn’t have need to go fighting anybody but Imo people fought the fight and resisted them from taking over the council headquarters.
“What they failed to realize is that the government of Ihedioha is government of lawmakers. We can’t disappoint Imo people. We have returned rule of law to the state and everyone is happy”, the former council Chairman and National Assembly member stated.
It would be recalled that in a press statement, made on the 17 of June 2019,signed by governor Emeka Ihedioha with caption, “an instrument for the suspension of Chairmen, Vice Chairmen, councilors and political appointees of the local governments of Imo state and constitution of interim management committees”, the governor explained the reasons for the suspension of the local governments elected Chairmen and Councilors.
The statement reads in full, “pursuant to the notice of allegation in writing against the Chairmen, Vice Chairmen, Councilors and Political appointees of the 27 Local Governments in Imo State, and the recommendations made to me by the Imo State House of Assembly in that regard, and having regards to the provisions of Sections 4, 5 & 6 of the Local Government Administration (as amended) law 2019, and S.73 (3) of Imo State Local Government Administration Law No 15 of 2000 (as amended) and all other laws enabling me in that behalf, I, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, hereby suspend the Chairmen, Vice Chairmen, Councilors and Political appointees of the 27 Local Governments in Imo State for a period of six months.
I do hereby set up Interim Management Committees to manage the affairs of each Local Government.
The Directors of Administration and General Services (DAGs) of each Local Government should take over the Management of these Local Governments pending the confirmation of the appointments of the Interim Management Committees by the Imo State House of Assembly”.
But has become worrisome apart from the December 11, 2019 ruling of the Supreme Court, ordering all Governors in Nigeria to reinstate all such sacked elected Chairmen and Councilors is why Governor Emeka Ihedioha, rather than recall those he suspended for six months instead renewed the appointment of hand-picked Interim Committee members for the 27 LGAs.
Besides the Governors apparent failure to conduct another council election as severally promised and proposed has further exacerbated the controversy trailing his action. It is therefore the general opinion of the pundits that the recall of the elected Chairmen and Councilors is long over-due since he personally admitted that the suspension is for a period of six months, and confirmed in writing that they were “suspended as Chairmen, Vice Chairmen, Councilors and Supervisors of the local government of Imo State”.