- Set to drag Govt to Court
By Inyali Peter, Calabar
An All Progressive Congress (APC) group in Cross River have urged the Federal Government to withhold the monthly allocation for the 18 local government area councils in the state pending when council elections are conducted.
Speaking under the aegis of Coalition of APC Support Groups in Cross River, the group hinted that it has concluded plans to drag the state government to court to get an injunction that will compel the government to conduct council elections.
In a statement signed by it Chairman, Comrade Iso Bassey Edim and Secretary, Barrister Joseph Odok, the group described the inability of the state government to conduct LG polls as “gross misconduct and executive abuse of democracy” by the governor.
It will be recalled that the tenure of the out gone elected council officials in the state expired on the 13th of this month and the governor, Senator Ben Ayade has ordered the most senior council officials should take charge of the affairs pending when transition committee will be constituted.
According to the statement, “The Nigeria constitution has expressly made proviso for three tiers of government namely, the federal, state and the local government to operate separately. While the federal government has not sacked any state government or fail to conduct elections for state officials, it is almost becoming a norm for state governors across the country to appoint their stooge to head LG.
“We are very worried that this practice is going on in a change government unchecked. The governors have made sure that the provision of three tiers of government have become more of a paper talk.
“Until now, Cross River state has never been part of this executive abuse of democracy but unfortunately, Ayade who has ingloriously destroyed all the legacies he inherited has introduced this and we are saying no, it should not happen.
“Elections were supposed to be conducted around August this year inline with the electoral act that elections are conducted three months to the expurgation of an administration.
‘But unfortunately, Ayade like other governors made sure this never happened. So to compel our governor to conduct elections, we are asking the federal government to withhold the state LG allocation. We have already concluded plans to challenge his planned transition committee in court”.
The group quarrelled that, ” Our state governors arrogance has become unbearable. They choose people into LG positions with utter disregard of the constitution. We wonder how they will feel if the President dissolve the elected state government and replace it caretaker committee or refuse to conduct elections when tenure elapse.
“Power belongs to the people not the governors. The joy of democracy is the opportunity the people get to choose who represent them. When you deny them such opportunity for nefarious reasons, you’re only calling for civil unrest.
“We are calling on governor Ben Ayade to conduct elections. Ayade has taken Cross Riverians for granted and we will rise against this. He should not only copy illegalities to the state, he should also commission projects like other governors are doing”.
The group further asked the governor to direct the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission to announce the time table for LG polls in the next 21 one days.
“We want Ayade to direct CROSIEC to announce time table for LG polls in the next 21 days. We want council elections and not just elections but free, fair and credible election”, the statement reads.