• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Soludo dumps newly-passed ANSICE Bill, swear-in another appointed TC Chairmen

IPMAN gives Soludo one month to address marketers’ grievance

Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra state has again dumped the democratisation of the local government system with the newly passed ANSIEC Bill to swear in another appointed Transition Committee (TC) Chairmen.

On July 3, 2024, Soludo retreating from his earlier promises played another waiting game to swear in appointed TC Chairmen contrarily to his commitments to bring governance closer to the people.

During his inauguration on March 17, 2022, the governor pledged to prioritize local government elections in the state, a move anticipated to invigorate grassroots democracy.

This promise went down well with the electorate, who longed for leaders accountable directly to them.

The establishment of the Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC) was seen as a crucial step towards fulfilling this commitment.

On May 28, 2024, under significant pressure from political opponents and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Soludo sent an executive bill to the Anambra State House of Assembly.

This bill aimed to re-establish ANSIEC, which had been inactive for years, to ensure the conduct of local government elections.

Lawmakers, led by the majority leader Ikenna Ofodeme, debated the bill passionately, expressing optimism that it would empower citizens to elect their local leaders democratically.

The bill, which contained about 110 clauses, passed its second reading and was supported by a broad spectrum of legislators.

On May 30, 2024, it was read for the third time and subsequently passed into law. This development was heralded as a significant victory for democratic governance at the grassroots level, creating a robust legal framework for local elections.

Lawmakers from various constituencies lauded the governor’s commitment, with the Speaker of the House, Hon. Somtochukwu Udeze, urging his colleagues to meticulously scrutinize the bill before its final passage.

The governor’s intent seemed clear: to conduct free and fair local government elections, bringing governance closer to the people of the state.

However, the optimism was short-lived. On June 19, 2024, Soludo forwarded the names of 21 Transition Committee (TC) Chairmen to the State House of Assembly for consideration.

This move, justified by the governor as compliant with section 208 of the local government law 1999 (as amended in 2012), shocked many who expected imminent local government elections.

The appointments were for a tenure of three months, with the possibility of renewal or termination, a stark departure from the promise of democratic elections. The State House of Assembly quickly confirmed these appointments on June 20, 2024.

Speaker Udeze, that day, congratulated the appointees and emphasized the importance of their roles, urging them to remain focused and collaborative with community leaders. The selection process, involving stakeholders from various sectors, was praised for its inclusivity, yet it underscored the governor’s retreat from his earlier electoral promises.

However, more worrisome is that the same legislators that passed the Bill for ANSIEC to create room for democratically-elected local government Chairmen also received a list of politically appointed Chairmen from the same source in less than one month and passed it within a space of one hour!