‘Ridiculous, puppeteering,’ Hon. Ogene knocks Gov. Soludo’s plan to appoint 8th set of LGA chairmen in two years

Records show that Governor Soludo changes LGA Transition Committee members every three months, and has therefore, made these curious changes seven times.”

By Deborah Hassan 

365Daily – The member representing Ogbaru Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Afam Victor Ogene, has flayed Anambra State Governor,  Chukwuma Soludo, for singlehandedly appointing another set of Local Government Transition Committee members instead of conducting elections.

He described the decision as ridiculous, undemocratic, abuse of power and unfair to the development dreams of the people.

This was contained in a statement signed by the lawmaker in Awka, on Sunday, May 19, 2024.

Ogene was responding to the correspondence between the Office of the Governor and the Local Government Chairmen of Soludo’s party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), calling for submission of CVs by interested persons within the party, through the office of the party’s LGA chairmen, for appointment into the Transition Committee.

According to Ogene, who is the Labour Party’s House of Reps’ Caucus Leader, “Records show that Governor Soludo changes LGA Transition Committee members every three months, and has therefore, made these curious changes seven times since assumption of office in 2022. By the time he makes another of such change 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, it is also the obvious foundation of both the subnational and the federal government. And should not be at the whims of state governors.

“Such undemocratic practice of appointing LGA administrators, rather that 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.”

Speaking further, Hon. Ogene queried: “For instance, 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 in the grassroots and provisions of the Constitution? It should be noted that other states, such as Delta, Lagos, Edo, Rivers, Kaduna, Awka Ibom, etc hold elections in the third tier of government, no matter how imperfect; why then is Governor Soludo appointing and discarding LGA administrators as if they are used tissue papers?

Meanwhile, the Senate on Thursday, May 16, 2024, also accused state governors of misappropriating funds allocated to local government councils in Nigeria, saying that arm of government was dead in the country, as a result of the overwhelming powers of the state governors over the LGAs.

It also said 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, LGAs, and urged President Bola Tinubu to, as a matter of urgency, champion the cause of full autonomy for local governments in the country.

The Senate resolved that President Tinubu should champion the cause of full autonomy for local governments in the country.

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