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Enugu Stakeholders Back Governor Ugwuanyi’s Caretaker Committee Arrangement For LGAs

By Ignatius Okpara, Enugu

BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Political stakeholders in Enugu state have thrown their weight behind Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s, decision to appoint caretaker committees to run affairs of the 17 Council Areas of the state from January 4, 2016.

The tenure of office of the incumbent elected Council chairmen will in December this year.

AFRICAN EXAMINER gathered that the Enugu Stakeholders had during an interactive meeting convened by Governor Ugwuanyi, weekend unanimously supported the proposed plan, in consideration of the reasons presented to them by the State Chief Executive.

However, the stakeholders’ unanimous decision coincided with recent resolution passed by the state chapter of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), which called on the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) not to conduct the council polls in the state, pending the conclusion and outcome of the Local Government Staff Audit.

Governor Ugwuanyi, had recently constituted an Audit panel to review the activities of the Local Government Councils with respect to personnel administration and other matters, aimed at fishing out ghost workers.

While giving detailed account of his six-month stewardship in the saddle, the Governor, told the stakeholders that the two major reasons why his administration was opting for caretaker committees, were because of the on-going local government staff audit and reforms as well as the inadequate budgetary provision for the exercise in the current budget.

The governor, promised to address the deficiency in the 2016 budget, to enable the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) conduct the elections next year.

He recalled that the State Caucus had during its last meeting in Enugu, agreed that all activities towards the local government elections, be put on hold to enable the Local Government reform committee conclude its assignment.

Ugwuanyi, added that the caucus’ decision appears to be a widely shared view among the people of the state, stressing that it will be unwise and imprudent to conduct election for new councils when this very important exercise has not been concluded.

He further explained  that the decision to constitute caretaker committees in order to avoid vacuum on January 4, 2016 was “in keeping with the extant laws of Enugu State and “in consonance with the Local Government Laws of the state”

A source who was at the closed door meeting and craved anonymity told our AFRICAN EXAMINER that the stakeholders’ approval for the caretaker committee arrangement was granted by the three senatorial districts whose decisions were presented by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu West), Prof. Bart Nnaji (Enugu East) and Chief Nnia Nwodo (Enugu North).

The source added that the stakeholders appreciated the stance of the political parties that the conduct of the Local Government Elections and the constitution of a new Local Government Administration in the State, when the Committee on the Local Government Staff Audit has not concluded its assignment, would be counter-productive to the progress of the Local Government system.

They noted that especially now that the nation’s economy was currently in a very bad shape.

In his speech, Senator Ekweremadu described the outcome of the meeting as a reflection of the peoples’ commitment to support the government to move the state forward.

“We have just heard what he has done and what he plans to do, in spite of the very tight economy we have. So, for the Governor to have done that much and promised to do more, it means he is a visionary leader” Ekweremadu stated.

Professor Nnaji, hailed the method of caretaker committees as a veritable approach in view of the lean resources of the state.

His words: “I will like to conclude by saying that we applaud your method of caretaker committee, it is a very good approach giving the resources of the state.

“We also commend your method of stakeholders; we appreciate your inclusive approach in decision making.” Nnaji said

Ex- Minister of Information, Chief Nwodo, described the Governor as a futuristic leader and commended his peace initiatives.

He said: “Our problem with the Local Government elections is that the money appropriated for it cannot conduct it in one senatorial zone not to talk of the whole state. You told us that under this circumstance, you will not run foul of the law by spending money that is not appropriated in the finance law.

Meanwhile, IPAC, which is the umbrella organization of all the political parties in Nigeria, made known their stance through a press statement in Enugu signed by its Chairman and Secretary, Afam Ani and Barrister Osita Agu, respectively.



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