Why unelected council chairmen should be excluded from FG’s N9b refund in Enugu
A coalition of Buhari Support Groups (BSGs) on Monday applauded Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi over his decision to deploy the over N9billion the State received from the federal government to payment of arrears of workers’ salaries, pensions and monies owed contractors.
The coalition however urged the governor to ensure that unelected council chairmen do not participate in the disbursement of the money as according to them, “they are not accountable to the people since they are not elected”.
They alleged that there was nothing on ground in the last one year to substantiate the need for the appointment of the caretaker committee members and urged the governor to immediately move for the conduct of elections into the local government system of the state.
The opinion of the coalition was made known after a meeting of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), preparatory for the southeast meeting of the National Committee, Buhari Support Groups in the South-East, billed for Enugu on January 21.
Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Chairman of the LOC, Buhari Support Organisation (BSO), Chief Anike Nwoga, described the massive influx of Ndigbo into APC since after the 2015 elections as a testimony that Ndigbo were happy with efforts by the Buhari administration to upgrade infrastructure in the South-East region as well as the transparency exhibited by his administration so far in managing the country’s resources.
Nwoga noted that in just 24 months, the current Buhari led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration would achieve what its predecessors in PDP led federal government failed to do on the roads in the South-East region – Aba-Calabar, Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene, Owerri-Port Harcourt Enugu-Onitsha and Enugu-Port Harcourt expressways- in 16 years.
According to him, in the 2017 budget, the South-East region got an allocation of N26bn for road projects, with Anambra State getting N13.7bn; Abia State, N1.3bn; Ebonyi Sate, N1.4bn; Enugu State, N7.5bn, while Imo State got N2.2bn.
Nwoga recalled that penultimate week the Federal Executive Council approved additional N16billion payment for the construction of the Second Niger Bridge and the job has commenced, underscoring Mr. President’s commitment to raising the infrastructure base of the South-East as an to industrial and commercial region of the country.
“As you are equally aware, the Federal Government recently released N388.304 billion as refunds of over-deductions on London-Paris Club loans, of which Enugu State got N9 billion.
“Whereas, we use this opportunity to applaud our Governor, His Excellency, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for making the N9.972billion received by Enugu State open and channeling it into payment of arrears of salaries and pensions as well as monies owed to contractors as President Buhari directed. However, we urge the Governor to ensure that unelected local government chairmen do not per take in the disbursement of the monies recently received, since they do not hold the mandate of the people. We still use this opportunity to call for local government elections as enshrined in Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)”, the group said
The LOC Chairman said the BSGs were happy with the massive entry into APC of Igbo sons and daughters after the 2015 general elections, adding that they would use their meeting of 21st January to strategize on how to give their brothers and sisters a rousing welcome in the months ahead.
He however, said time has come for Ndigbo to count their teeth with their tongues and abandon those ethnic merchants and religious bigots who preach hate only for their selfish interest as these were the few who became millionaires when millions were impoverished and who never remembered the federal roads in the South East when their brother Senator Anyim Pius Anyim was Secretary to Government of the Federation, their sister Dr Mrs Ngozi Ökonjo-Iweala, Minister of Finance and Coordinator of the Economy and their brothers, Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker among others.
Nwoga used the opportunity to once again to appeal to Ndigbo to have faith in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that they were optimistic that in the fullness of time, the Buhari administration will fulfill all promises made to the South-East region.