The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidates in next general election in Akwa Ibom state have continued to trade words over autonomy of local government councils as contained in the manifesto of the APC in the state.
The governorship candidate of APC, Obong Nsima Ekere, had while presenting his blueprint promised to enforce financial autonomy to local government councils if voted into power.
But the PDP had faulted the claim arguing that it is not possible “unless there is constitutional amendment”.
Speaking at a media briefing yesterday, the chairman of Obong Nsima Ekere Publicity Campaign, Hon Eseme Eyiboh, described the position of PDP on the matter as an attempt to discredit the new vision of development being envisaged by the APC governorship candidate.
He said, “A lot of people in the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) 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’.
He argued that making local governments the focal point of constitutional democracy as Ekere has promised is possible but required courage, understanding and appreciation of the requirements of the law and that it also required a man who has the capacity to differentiate between politics and governance.
“What our principal is saying is that because of his pedigree in public service career-he has been a Deputy Governor, the Chairman of Akwa Ibom Investment Promotion Council and now the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
“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” Eyiboh said.
Eyiboh, who is also the Chairman of Cross Basin Development Authorities said the argument by the PDP and other people doubting the possibility of triggering development in the local government is a mirage.
He further argued that if the 3 per cent of the internally generated Revenue is remitted to the local government councils as stated in the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria there would be healthy completion for development in the councils.
However, the People Democratic Party (PDP) has described the APC as desperate group who need to study the constitution to know that there is autonomy in the local council except in the area of finance which must be amended by the National Assembly.
By Isaac Job, Uyo