Anambra LG Polls: Buck-passing stops at Obi’s desk

As part of its broadcast on Monday December 10, 2012 the Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) read from their studios in Awka, a news commentary written by Hon. Sylva Nwobu-Alor a member and factional stalwart of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) titled NON-CONDUCT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS IN ANAMBRA STATE. Thank goodness! The powers that be in Anambra now consider this topic worth discussing.

In the reference commentary, Hon. Nwobu-Alor who was rightly introduced as the Campaign manager of the Peter Campaign Organisation claimed that Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State is the most democratic governor that Anambra State has produced since the creation of the state 21 years ago, an attribute, according to him which made the governor stand up for the rule of law on so many occasions to reclaim his mandate which was taken away in 2003 and 2006 after his impeachment as governor of the state and in 2007 in the wake of the 2007 governorship polls.

Hon. Nwobu-Alor who is cruelly fighting the battle of his life on the side of Gov.Peter Obi with another faction led by Chief Victor Umeh trace his own version of the history of attempts to hold local government elections in the state, starting from the earliest in 2007 when Obi returned from his impeachment saga and not March 2006 when he was sworn in.

By the account of the 88-year old Nwobu-Alor, President Obasanjo ordered that based on security reports, elections should not be held in Anambra State in 2007.Therefater, when the government of Peter Obi made a second attempt, the Independent National Electoral Commission refused to release the voter register for the conduct of the elections. He did not say what reason INEC gave for their action, and what attempts were made to engage or compel INEC to release the register.

He went on to write that in the third attempt which he did not attach a time frame to, the opposition parties particularly the ACN went to court to stop the elections from holding with the subsisting register, and so the elections were deferred. This is true. It happened in the year 2009.

Thereafter, Hon Nwobu-Alor acknowledged that the government was getting prepared for the elections once again when the Anambra State House of Assembly removed the Chairman of Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC). Thereafter according to Nwobu-Alor Prof Eze went to court to contest his dismissal and hence ‘obtained an injunction ordering the state government from appointing another chairman to replace him’. This of course is false. Yet, Nwobu-Alor’s ABS commentary claims, it is responsible for the non-conduct of local government elections and accordingly it would not be held until the case is disposed of.

We shall not go into the issue of who is the most democratic governor that Anambra has produced in 21 years, because 88-year old Nwobu-Alor, speaking for his master and nephew, Gov Obi in the commentary did not set the criteria.

But we know that football goalkeepers are judged in reverse order, by the number of goals that slip through their nets and not by the number of flashy dives they make, nor by the number of attackers injured.

So borrowing from the phraseology in the memorable words authored by Thomas Jefferson in America’s declaration of independence over two hundred years ago , we hold these truths to be self evident in Anambra State today:

· That there are 21 local government in Anambra State ,all of which have appointed cronies of Peter Obi ,rather than elected executives being checked by their legislature and accounting to the people, hence responding to one vision instead of 22 in keen competition.

· That Anambra State House of Assembly is the second arm of government, depend on the executive for salaries, wages, perks of office, office space and everything, and are therefore not being independent are highly incapacitated to check the governor, whch explains for instance, why Obi did not sign the 2012 PPROPRIATION Bill into Law and is not respecting the budgetary estimates.

· That Obi is stridently opposed to the autonomy of both the local governments and the State House of Assembly an has openly argued his way against the two concepts in recent times, but has been consistently overruled by the determined people of Anambra State, now hardened by his queer policies.

· That there are over a dozen commissioner s ,one secretary to the state government, a large government service and a coterie of political appointees ,but none is qualified to co-ordinate the traditional distribution of checks to peoples and publics, schools and churches ,which signposts Obi’s strongest legacy of throwing money at challenges of state.

· Finally that the Anambra Broadcasting funded by tax payers money speaks for Gov. Obi, his family and his faction of APGA, without any pretensions to balance the views and not for the government and people of Anambra State.

If the above, that is by no means exhaustive, is what it takes to be the most democratic governor Anambra has produced, then no one needs any democracy. But if it is made up of letting the people and their representatives have a say in the affairs that govern their lives, we subscribe.

There is no point in debating what Obasanjo told Obi privately based on his security report, even when history, by any account cannot concede Obasanjo any neutrality or statesmanship in matters concerning the state. But we are worried that a democratic Obi could have made a broadcast to the state on this, outlined the challenges, and thereafter set the time frame to achieve the goals. After all, was that not what an Anambra son Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe,led a battery of coalitions to demand from the British colonialists? Was it not what Anambra sons and daughters joined others nationally to demand from the military leaders? Now Anambra is in a fresh struggle for democracy, entertaining the same kind of excuses offered by Ibrahim Babangida in 1993-‘The court stopped the announcement of presidential election results’ .Yet their governor is democratic.

Again because Nwobu –Alor made claims to the contrary, let us remind those who have forgotten that Peter Obi did not pray the election Tribunal led by Justice Dauda Nabaruma to declare him governor in the aftermath of Anambra 2003 elections. It follows therefore that he also did not ask the appeal court in Enugu to declare him governor. But he was so declared. So why would he not promptly pander to Obasanjo, even if the latter’s game was to under-develop Anambra? Why would he not show gratitude to a man who bent some ‘unbendables’ to award him a gubernatorial seat like a chieftaincy title, knowing then, what many are just getting to know about the Nigerian judiciary.

Why would he not even pay what the governor before him failed to pay from the treasury, just to remain in power and sustain his gratitude? So where would the money come from if not the local government allocations, and of course N9.5 billion recovered from the same Obasanjo who withheld it for years until his midwifed alternative to Ngige came. What the two have in common is that they never reflect in the budget of the state.

That is the issue that stops Obi from holding local government elections and not any other thing. How can the mouth of a babe be suddenly removed from lactating breasts of the mother?

AC N is proud to have helped Anambra State deepen it course of democracy in 2009 (Obis first term) by going to court to challenge the government from holding any elections based on a voter register which Obi connived with Maurice Iwu in INEC ,just to rig local government elections. In the resulting product, names from Idemili North were found by voters in Aguata, Orumba names went to Oyi. Dunukofia disappeared to Awka North and so on. It was deliberate. It was designed by those who smuggled Obi into power in Anambra State to perpetuate him.

If the mere fact of leading other opposition parties to stop that show of shame is all that stopped the elections, then Obi is on excuse shopping because elections in Nigeria and anywhere in the world are usually body-guarded by court cases. ACN did not seek that elections should not hold, but that the faulty voter register should be corrected.

It is a matter to note that the vigilance of ACN led to an early discovery of the flaws on the register, but rather than correct it, Obi, Iwu and their masters made eight staff of INEC a scapegoat by sacking them for adulterating the register, only to produce the same document to disenfranchise Anambra selectively in February 2010. Even then ACN won, only to be short-changed .Eventually post-Iwu INEC upheld ACN’s observations and embarked on a voter review exercise, not just in Anambra but nationally.

So what excuse does Obi have for not conducting the local government elections after March 2010? Nothing except the contrived sack of Prof Titus Eze,a chairman appointed by Obi.. The sack was done by Governor Obi through his Secretary to the State government, Mr Paul Odenigbo. The appendage House of Assembly led by Obi’s appointee deliberated on the letter for one day and decided without inviting the accused. On receipt of the SSG’s sack letter, Prof Titus Eze sued the government of Anambra State. The government raised a preliminary objection through the then Attorney General, Mr E.D. Chukwuma that the plaintiff did not join the State House of Assembly. The court decided in favour of the plaintiff, holding that suing the Anambra State government in the instant case the House of Assembly was part and parcel of Anambra State government.

A date was fixed for the trial and the government gave a notice of Appeal on the preliminary objection. Rather than embark on the appeal, the government made a u-turn and applied for the transfer of the case. That transfer has not been effected till date under the nose of Governor Peter Obi who is manipulating the judiciary and the legislature together. Let the chief judge of Anambra State peak up on this. Yet Obi is all-time democratic.

Contrary to Obi’s lies dished out through his 88-year old uncle, NO INJUNCTION HAS BEEN ISSUED BY THE COURT TO STOP HIM FROM APPOINTING ANOTHER ANSIEC CHAIRMAN, to conduct elections. We challenge Gov Obi to cause the purported injunction which his uncle and campaign manager said was issued by the courts for Anambra to be published if it exists.

It is bad enough that Obi does not want to conduct local government elections for reasons stated. But it is worse that he would not admit that what he considers obstacles cannot pass by the description, as his political will and the LG fund honey pot are the two real obstacles.

To conclude we are compelled to ask why Obi thinks he can be in charge without being in charge. When the blame is not on Obasanjo, it is ACN. When it is not ACN it is INEC. When INEC is no longer the issue, it is the State House of Assembly and when the Court dismisses the need to join the House of Assembly separately it is the judiciary. Who will it be next? None but Governor Obi, we suspect.

MR GOVERNOR SIR, THE BUCK –PASSING STOPS AT YOUR DESK!

· Madukaife is the Anambra State Publicity Secretary of ACN

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