Ohakim Suspends Three LG Caretaker Chairmen
If Mr. Philip Uwazuruonye, Mr. Paul Emeziem and Mrs. Rose Onamaeme, Transition Chairmen of Onuimo, Nwangele and Obowo Local Government Areas of Imo State fail to clear themselves of the weighty allegations against them, their jobs are on the line.This is as a result the approval of their suspension by Governor Ikedi Ohakim. According to a release signed by the Permanent Secretary, Political Affairs Bureau, Mr.S.I.Mbachu, the suspension became necessary for the affected Local Government bosses to step aside while Imo government investigates weighty allegations against them. The release further noted that the allegations border on maladministration and corruption.
They were also directed to handover immediately to their respective Directors of Administration and General Services (DAGS) and also submit all government property in their possession. The Directors of Administration and General Services were advised to take inventory of government property submitted by the deposed Chairmen.Prior to the suspension of the Chairmen, Barrister Kezie Ogaziechi, Commissioner of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, had, while addressing newsmen declared government's resolution to address the many cases of administrative malfeasance in the Local Government Councils in the State.
But the development has drawn sharp criticisms from the political pressure groups are not comfortable with Governor Ohakim's action of suspending the Council bosses. They describe it as someone coming to “equity with unclean hands.”
According Maximus Uba, President Imo Democratic Congress Ohakim lacks the morality to suspend any Local Government Chairman on corruption Comrade Uba alleges that Ohakim's administration gives Local Government a minute percentage of their monthly allocation while they sign for the full allocation. In a telephone with this reporter the Imo Democratic Congress chieftain noted: “if their sin borders on corruption it is a welcome development but an administration that gives Chairmen less than 1/3 of its allocation whereas they sign they sign for 3/3 lacks the morality to suspend any Local Government Chief on corruption. We restate here our demand on Ohakim to account for over N50billion misappropriated Local Government funds since 2007.
Dr.Jude Ohanele of Development Dynamics in his own position noted that the Local Government Transition Committees are unconstitutional and illegal. According to him, whatever happens to them are essentially the dividends of unconstitutionality and illegality. “Their appointment abinitio is unconstitutional. Whatever happens to them remain essentially the dividends of unconstitutionality, illegality and illegitimacy,” Dr.Ohanele posited.
According to Chilos God sent, the President, Imo Mass Movement, the several by concerned bodies and persons on Ohakim to conduct local government elections have become very necessary .”Our position is that the Local Government Council Transition Committee is illegal and undemocratic. Ohakim should conduct credible and credible elections into Local Government Councils,”Mr.Godsent declared.
For close to four years, Imo State has not conducted elections into the local government councils. Several groups and individuals have mounted pressure on Governor since he assumed office in 2007 to conduct the LG elections but he has been given one excuse or the other. The most excuse is that the LG elections should hold on until the State House of Assembly is through with the Local Government electoral reforms. Prior to this, an electoral reform committee has been set up.
On the other hand, the delay in the conduct of the Local Government elections in Imo State has generated a lot of allegations against Governor Ohakim. One of the allegations is that the Governor engages half of the state's monthly allocation to service loans which he acquired as a result of his penchant to acquire property outside the country.
According to the allegation, this trend has exposed the Governor to relying immensely on the Council funds to run the affairs of the state. The source further has it that this situation is responsible for the delay in the conduct of the local government elections.The Governor is further alleged of investing the burden of funding the Imo Rural Roads Maintenance Agency on the shoulders of 27 local government Councils in Imo State . A source claims that the N4billion which the State Government to have used in procuring equipment for the agency is deducted at the Joint Allocation Accounts Committee (JAAC). According to the source, the government further gave the council transitional committees a standing order to channel not less than N500, 000 on a monthly basis to IRROMA projects. These deductions resulted to the sack of the previous Board of the Agency