Civil Liberties Organization, CLO, in Anambra State has expressed worry over the inability of the state government to conduct Local Government elections.
It said that non-conduct of local council polls in the state was not only unconstitutional and a denial of democracy at grassroots, but also breeds corruption, lack of accountability and good governance.
In a statement, the chairman, Vincent Ezekwueme and Secretary, Chidi Mba, said the group appealed to Governor Willie Obiano to commence processes towards the conduct of free, fair and credible local government elections.
It recalled that the last election was conducted in 2014, which it noted was the only time such exercise was held in the state since the inception of the present democratic dispensation on May 29th 1999.
The group also called on the governor to reconstitute the State Independent Electoral Commission in tandem with the constitution, electoral act and landmark Supreme Court judgement that rightly asserted that Local Government officials must be governed by elected officials.
The statement partly read, “It is incredible but existential reality that Anambra State is the only state in the federation that has conducted election once in 11th January 2014 by former governor Peter Obi’s administration since the inception of current democratic dispensation on May 29, 1999.
“Significantly in more than 21 years of our democratic experience Anambra State has conducted election once and since 2016 when the tenure of last elected local government officials elapsed we have been in the vanguard of agitation for the conduct of Local Government elections in the state in line with our constitution that elections must be periodically conducted at the local government level.
“Worthy of note is that transition committee of the Caretaker committee is alien to Nigerian constitution and the State House Of Assembly should protect, safeguard and defend the local government system.
“They should empower and encourage the governor to conduct local government election and desist from continuous extension of tenures of Transition Committee Members.
“It is of great relevance to note that enthronement of democracy at the grassroots will certainly bring governance nearer to the people, reduce unemployment, encourage political participation, adequate harnessing of natural resources and proper utilization of comparative advantages at local level.
“Most importantly it has retarded and still retarding development and negates the good intentions of military government of then Gen Olusegun Obasanjo in 1976 for establishing reformed Local Government System in Nigeria.
“Obiano as a beneficiary of democratic process and should spare no effort to enthrone democratic governance at the grassroots as the greatest democratic dividends to the grassroots in particular and Anambra State in general.”