With less than 90 days to the expiration of the extension given to the Transition Committee in the 31 LGA, and the failure by the Governor Udom-led administration to issue a statement that local government election will be conducted, there is a mounting anxiety that the executive and legislative may have a major face-off.
The local government administration law stipulates that the executive should issue notice of election within 90 days, but between April and June this year, when the tenure of the local government Transition Committee is expected to expire, the governor has not shown any indication that local government elections will hold in the state.
The Sensor authoritatively gathered that the sixth Assembly has vowed not to allow further extension of the transition administration in the state.
It would be recalled that the House had in January this year warned the governor against the extension of the tenure of the committee.
The house charged the governor to ensure that election is conducted before the expiration of the six months tenure. However, with the six months gradually coming to an end, the governor has not done anything or show commitment to the conduct of the election.
A member of the House told The Sensor in confidence that if the governor fails to conduct election to usher in democratically-elected officials, the House would no longer approve caretakers.
He advised the governor to do the right thing by conducting the election before June, when the tenure will elapse.
The governor had earlier this year, informed the House that the tenure of the transition committees in the state would elapse on January 4, 2017, and solicited the approval of the legislature for an extension of their tenure by six months.
The Sensor recalled too that since the governor assumed office in 2015, he has ruined the local government through caretaker, a development that has attracted wide criticism from the people as caretaker members are said to be not accountable to the people.
The caretaker is also said to be against the decision of the National Assembly that has frown on such arrangement.
The State government through the Akwa Ibom State Independent National Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) said that lack of funds is the reason it cannot conduct local government election.
AKISIEC chairman, Dr. Glory Ukpong during her budget defense before the House of Assembly, had stated that the electoral body will conduct the local government election on condition that the executive must ensure that it releases the commission’s budgetary allocation on time.
She went further to say that only N20 million (out of N4.5 billion) budget was released to the commission in 2016, thus, the inability of the commission to conduct the election.
Meanwhile, some chairmanship and councillorship aspirants who had carried out wide consultation have expressed disappointment over the governor’s mute. Some of them who spoke with our correspondent said that the governor’s continued silence may spell doom for his second term aspiration as many would have no choice than to join another party that would carry them along.