Nnamani, Nwobodo, others lose wards to PDP in Enugu
• ‘Election a minus for devolution of power’
Former senate president, Ken Nnamani, former governor, Jim Nwobodo, and other political ‘big wigs’ who dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu State failed to deliver their wards and councils in Saturday’s council election.
Nnamani lost in his Amechi Uwani Ward 2 to the PDP candidate in the area.
Nwobodo also lost in his Awkunanaw-Amechi Ward to the PDP. It was the second time the politician would be beaten by an opponent in his country home ward, having suffered similar fate at the hand of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the 2015 general elections.
Announcing the result, chairman of the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC), Chief Mike Ajogwu, said the PDP won the 14 council chairmanship seats and their wards in the state.
Results from three local government areas, including Udi, the home country of former governor, Sullivan Chime, Enugu North and Awgu were still being expected as at the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, the APC has said it would challenge the outcome of the poll in court. It alleged that the election was marred by violence and non-availability of result sheets.
State chairman of the party, Dr. Ben Nwoye, described the election as a sham, saying it would go down in history as worst ever by any democratic government.
Calling for ENSIEC to be held accountable, he said: “We would be fine if the state government decided not to conduct any election at the council level than engage in an exercise that will embarrass the state. This is not how democracy is practised. The fact that they are on top today does not mean they will remain there forever. ENSIEC showed its readiness to derail the process when they did not allow stakeholders to monitor the distribution of electoral materials. We should go beyond this.”
Meanwhile, the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VoN), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, has described the election as a minus for advocates of devolution of powers, stressing that its shambolic nature was a paradox to restructuring.
Okechukwu, an APC stalwart, told journalists in Enugu that it would be unfortunate, if the November 4, 2017 election was what Nigerians were looking forward to, when more political powers are devolved from the federal to the state tier of government.
He regretted that if the poll, characterised by late arrival of electoral materials and other irregularities, was allowed to stand, it would encourage state governments to continue to debase democracy through chaotic elections.
Okechukwu recalled that in 2016, APC members objected to the appointment of caretaker committees to administer the 17 local councils in the state and went to court against the breach of Section 7 of the constitution.
“Regrettably, the election came after two years, and in PDP’s tradition of election phobia, ENSIEC disqualified 50 councillorship and two chairmanship candidates of APC.
“We headed to court again and they reversed the disqualification. Then came the election day, impunity reared its ugly head once more, result sheets were handed over to PDP leaders and their associates.”
The VON DG said he was worried because such anomalies made popular participation at local council level impossible.
He expressed disappointment that virtually all state governments run rubber-stamp Houses of Assemblies, making oversight functions at the state level non-existent.
“Consequently, the devolution of powers from the federal to state tier of government seems a paradox. Democracy cannot grow or survive without free and fair elections at council level. Imagine what could have happened to the opposition if there is state police. We could have been chased out of the polling grounds. Patriots have to review our support for the devolution of powers,” he said.
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