The failure by the administration of Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel to conduct election into the thirty-one local government councils about one year after the duly elected councils served out their term has met with condemnations from several quarters.
Those criticizing Governor Emmanuel for not conducting elections do so on the strength of the constitution which declares Transition Committees as illegal.
The Governor appointed Transition Committee for the 31 LG Councils last July and has extended their tenure twice. Presently, the Governor is said to be ready to continue appointing Transition Committees this year.
Although Governor Emmanuel through his Special Adviser on political and legislative Affairs has cited lack of funds to conduct election at the third tier of government as reason for not holding the election yet, the Executive Director Community Policing Partners for Justice, Security and Democratic Reforms (COMPPART) Mr. Saviour Akpan has said it is a lame excuse which cannot be accepted in a democracy.
“I believe the Governor and his advisers are taking the citizens of this state for a ride. If the people have been patient with the illegal contraption called Transition Committees he made them to live with for one year, there is no reason why he should not put the machinery in place to conduct election in the third tier of government which impacts more on the people at the grassroots” he stated.
The Government of Akwa Ibom State he noted cannot say there is no money for election since by the published figures from the Federal Allocation Committee, it still collects the highest allocation adding that “roads, new secretariat annex and other projects are not as important as conducting elections into the local government”.
He said elections are the most important aspect of a democracy because without it the people cannot speak on their choice of leaders.
Akpan therefore called on the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly to begin impeachment proceedings against Deacon Emmanuel as failure to conduct election is an impeachable offence.
“The constitution recognizes the third tier of government in Nigeria and failure to conduct elections into the third tier of government is an impeachable offence and the Assembly should begin the process against Deacon Emmanuel” he stated.
Recently, there have been complaints that elections conducted by the state Electoral commissions are always influenced by the Governor and the party in power, as such calls have been made for INEC to conduct local government elections in Nigeria.
Also, there are demands on the National Assembly to make laws which will give local governments financial autonomy; thereby ending joint account that makes it possible for state governors to control funds allocated to local governments.