LG allocation: Former commissioner faults court order, backs Soludo

An elder statesman Chief Joe-Martin Uzodike has faulted the court injunction stopping the federal government from remitting Local Government Area (LGA) allocation to Anambra state government if Governor Chukwuka Soludo does not conduct council election.

Uzodike, a Lawyer and former Commissioner for Information in Anambra said this on Saturday while reacting to an Abuja High Court order restraining federal government from further remitting funds due to the 21 LGAs of Anambra state from the federation account.

The order followed an experte motion by Chukwuebuka Mmeni in suit no. FCT/HCLCVI2260/2024 and
MOTION NO: FCTIM/8269/2024.

The plaintiff prayed the court to restrain the remittances pending the hearing of motion on notice

The court also granted and directing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to invite and interrogate the relevant officers of Anambra state government over the deployment
of the monies belonging to its
21 LGAs.

The order covered revenue received from the federal government between March 22, 2022 and April 30, 2024 to be accompanied with affidavit of compliance with the Registry of the Honourable Court within 30 days

Uzodike said the order would stall development at the grassroots.

He said plaintiff had no locus standi because he had no special interest that was superior to or different from those of other citizens of Anambra.

He said withholding allocations due to local governments in Anambra would amount to keeping it idle to yield interest for some people while stagnating development at that level of the society.

He claimed that it was not initiated in the overall interest of the masses but for political considerations.

“The person who sued had no special interest from those of other citizens, nobody asked him to sue on behalf of the people, those who should protest are those in the local government who feel nothing is being done but you will agree with me that there is no place the governor is not working.

“As a former Commissioner for Information in Anambra State, I am aware that the local government and state government money are pulled together and used to develop every area of the state, that money belongs to people at a particular time, so you can not keep it in abeyance by stopping it,” he said.

Uzodike said LGA elections were important but should be conducted in line with best practice and not mere formality.

He said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) through their state offices should take over the conduct of state council election to end the era of 100 percent victory for the ruling party in the state under State Electoral Commission.

He said there was no need spending huge money on conducting local government election which results were already known.

He further pointed out that the Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission had been without a chairman since 2013.

“INEC should takeover conduct of Local Government election from State Independent Electoral for elections at that level to make sense because as it is now, when states conduct elections, the ruling party wins everything.

“Again, the cost of conducting elections is so high that it makes no sense for state governments to undertake other development projects rather than spend that money on elections that are not democratic.

“Though Soludo promised to conduct local government elections but like most other governors, when you come in and compare cost with its benefits, reality demands that you need more time to do due diligence before conducting the poll; however, I am sure he will conduct it soon,” he said.