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PDP, APC differ on feasibility of local government autonomy

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Akwa Ibom Governorship candidate, Mr. Nsima Ekere

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State have crossed swords over the feasibility of granting autonomy to local government councils as being championed by APC in the state.

While APC submitted that if it controls the state by 2019, it would give the councils free hand to enforce those powers granted it by the constitution, including taking full control of motor parks, markets and others, the PDP says such license could not be executed without amending the constitution.

The gubernatorial candidate of APC, Obong Nsima Ekere, had, while presenting his blueprint, promised to enforce financial autonomy to local government councils if voted into power, saying it was necessary for good governance.

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But faulting the proposition, PDP maintained that it was not possible “unless there was constitutional amendment,” even as APC spokesman, Mr. Eseme Eyiboh, described PDP’s position as an attempt to discredit the new vision of development being propounded by Ekere.

Eyiboh said: “A lot of people in Peoples Democratic Party and the rest of other diseased-minded people have argued that enforcement of local government autonomy is not possible unless there is constitutional amendment. They are clearly trying to discredit our principal, Obong Nsima Ekere, who is going to introduce rural development.

“What our principal is saying is that because of his pedigree in public service career, he has been a deputy governor, chairman of Akwa Ibom Investment Promotion Council and now Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

“He has promised to make the local government the focal of constitutional democracy. It requires courage, understanding, and appreciation of the requirement of the law and, of course, it requires a man who has the capacity to differentiate between politics and governance.”

The former federal lawmaker further argued that making local governments the focal point of constitutional democracy, as Ekere has promised, is possible, but it requires courage, understanding, and appreciation of the requirements of the law and that it also requires a man who has the capacity to differentiate between politics and governance.

Eyiboh, who is also the chairman of Cross River Basin Development Authority, said the argument by the PDP and other people doubting the possibility of triggering development in the local government was not ready to let go the constitutional powers granted the council areas in the constitution.

He reasoned that if the three per cent of the internally generally revenue is remitted to the local government councils as stated in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, there would be healthy completion in the council areas.


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