And it came as a deep embarrassment and utter nostalgia the unsavoury, repugnant and distasteful news of the bland and lifeless reconfirmation of the sterile TRANSITION COMMITTEE (TC) CHAIRMEN for the 21 local government areas of Anambra state by the state Assembly.
This confirmation is, to say the least, an ugly repetition and horrid extension of the unchecked ‘rape’ on the collective psyche’ and mentality of Ndi Anambra by the successive occupants of Agu Awka government house and their complicit state Assemblies.
The legitimate clamour, from various quarters in the state, for the conduct of the long overdue local council elections, seems to have been treated with utmost disdain, contempt and apathetic response from the Obiano-controlled state Assembly and Agu Awka.
Perhaps, in our usual near nonchalance towards happenings in the local governments, the reconfirmation would have come and gone without raising significant dusts, except for the abracadabra and ill intended muscle flexing from the Assembly members in opposition to the continued stay of the current crop of non performing TC chairmen.
Although, pundits have maintained that the opposition mounted by the state legislators was a tactical ploy to persuade the state government for some monetary baptism and other pecuniary disposition. The eventual collapse of the agitation by the members aptly lend credence to the widespread insinuations of a totally worn out and compromised state Assembly, who are only fit for rejection by the electorates in the next general election.
The fundamental purpose of governance is to deliver services to the people, but when the elected legislators look the other way on issues of major concerns to the electorates and allow a balkanization of a tier of government under their watch, the future becomes a matter of chance.
How did Anambra get to this present leadership and governance quagmire under a supposedly experienced technocrat? Who or what did we offend in the spiritual and physical? The questions are many and begging for answers!
While some herdsmen, boko-haram and bandits terrorized states have successfully conducted local council elections in many parts of Nigeria, including but not limited to Benue, Ebonyi and Sokoto, a peaceful state like Anambra with enormous human and material resources, has fared badly in this regard. And one wonders why the conduct of election for a constitutionally recognized tier of government is becoming a perpetual nightmare for many Governors in Anambra state.
Why is Anambra case different only in the conduct of local council elections? Who is afraid of the account and management of allocations to the local governments from the Federation account?
Moreover, these people came with the obnoxious and deceitful sloganeering and party mantra- NKEA BU NKE ANYI, but had immediately jettisoned the idea and promises, in pursuit of sectarian agenda to the detriment of our collective bargains.
Anambra state Assembly has by this singular act of reckless and mindless reconfirmation of the incompetent and unlawful TC chairmen, proved again the peak to which mediocrity is raised in the caliber of people elected to represent us. This is not strange to many close watchers of the recent political developments in our dear state.
In fact, the TC chairmen under Governor Willy Obiano are merely ceremonial chairmen and without the requisite portfolio for the due governance and administration of their respective council areas. They are only grandstanding as the “Mayors” and “Honourables” and other appellations.
A cursory look at the activities of the local governments at the secretariats reminds one of the quietness of the graveyards, without the usual hustling and bustling associated with council legislative and administrative activities.
A local government with a net monthly Federal Allocation of over one hundred and twenty eight million (N128,000,000.00) naira cannot undertake the repair of a common local bridge at a cost of less than Five million (N5,000,000.00) and we are here shouting and hailing! Something is definitely wrong somewhere.
It should be clarified that I hold no personal grudges with the TC chairmen but the processes and institutions that imposed them on us and which put the local governments at this precarious, despicable and insolvent mode. If these chairmen could contest for elections and are returned elected, with full Federal allocations, the situation of our local communities will be improved significantly.
The revenue accruing to the local governments can handle and execute local level flooding problems, primary health care infrastructure, primary schools, culverts, local road repairs, crime fighting and other local empowerment of youths and the elderly, if judiciously utilized.
On a final note, Ndi Anambra must use the forthcoming governorship election to elect a credible, local council supportive and visionary individual with a written agreement for mandatory conduct of local council elections within 2 months in office. The next Governor must sign for immediate resignation should he or she renege in conducting the council elections within the agreed date.
Oballum George writes from Mgbakwu.