Massive gridlock was on Wednesday witnessed in Awka, the Capital City of Anambra State as a Rights group, Recover Nigeria Project (RCP) and others marched through major streets and roads to protest non-conduct of local government elections in the state.
The protesters bore placards with inscriptions such as; Caretaker Committee are Undertakers, Obiano pays us gratuity, Obiano conduct local government, 8 years staff leave office, state government has refused our severance, gratuity and Allowances, among other demands.
Speaking during the protest, the Convener, Recover Nigeria Project, Comrade Osita Obi, recalled that they had on September 16 written to the state government over the development, demanding the immediate conduct of the polls to ease the suffering of those at the grassroots.
According to him, refusal to hold elections at grassroots is depriving Anambra state democratic dividends at grassroots, as well as causing unemployment to majority that would have become gainfully employed as elected officers and others.
He called on Anambra state House of Assembly members, National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), and the entire populace to join in the struggle, adding that when democratic government is entrenched at the Local Government level, more development will be witnessed at the grassroots.
“If elections are held in the local government areas, it will create jobs, reduce insecurity and serve as a breeding ground for good politicians. I championed the struggle for local government election in Anambra during former Governor Peter Obi’s administration and it was held,” he stated.
The group mandated the state governor, Willie Obiano, to within five months conduct council poll or face more mass action.
According to them, if the right thing was done, the tipper drivers will not be exploited through over-taxation as obtains presently in the state even as former councillors will receive all their unpaid entitlements
Meanwhile in a reaction, the State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C-Don Adinuba said there is a subsisting court order that emanated from a suit instituted by the opposition in the state, stopping the conduct of local government elections in Anambra State.
According to him, the matter is under judicial consideration and it will be improper for the state government to conduct the elections.
“The drivers are being manipulated by a desperate politician who cannot wait for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to lift the ban on the electioneering campaign for the office of the Governor of the State which will hold in November 2021.
“The State government noticed that the politician seems too ignorant and desperate to know that the question of an election into Local Governments in the state is sub judice, as it is before the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Anambra has over the years, remained Nigeria’s safest and most peaceful state, with a level of social harmony unknown in any other part of the country since the restoration of democratic rule,” he noted.
Adinuba, thanked most members of the tipper drivers union for their loyalty to the people of Anambra State urging them to remain law-abiding and patriotic.