- Published on Saturday, 28 July 2012 00:05
- Written by Elombah.com
Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, has succumbed to nationwide pressure and ordered immediate resumption of official activities in the 27 local government areas, even as he maintained that the impasse that arose from the Appeal Court judgment was an unnecessary distraction. Okorocha gave the directive in Owerri,
while addressing traditional rulers, members of the State Executive Council, some labour leaders and other stakeholders in the state.
The meeting, which was originally scheduled by the Governor to address the reinstated local council chairmen, was shunned by the aggrieved council bosses.
“I call on the local government chairmen to come back and commence work immediately. I am not counting on who is right or wrong in this matter but I am interested in making sure that peace and tranquility reign supreme in the state”, Okorocha said.
The Governor equally pleaded with the local government chairmen to assist his administration to uncover the huge sums of money stolen from the local council accounts.
Explaining why he wanted to talk with the chairmen, Okorocha said: “I wanted us to work out how best to move Imo forward. I am determined to save Imo people from the shackles of poverty, hopelessness and under-development”.
The Governor explained that he “dissolved the local councils because of the level of corruption in the system”, adding that people must learn to sieve politics from governance.
“These chairmen should realize that I am the Governor of the state and those who are remotely controlling the chairmen should leave them to work for the people”, Okorocha pleaded.
But the reinstated chairmen of local government councils have said they would not attend the parley slated for Friday, July 27 with the state governor at Government House, Owerri.
The chairmen operating under the aegis of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Imo State chapter said they are spurning the meeting owing to improper invitation.
In a statement signed by Chairman, Mrs Ruby Emele and Secretary, Barrister Enyinnaya Onuegbu, the council bosses said they were yet to receive any official or written invitation from the governor.
They also took exception to their labelling by the governor as PDP former council chairmen and condemned the efforts of the state government aimed at scuttling their reinstatement as ordered by the Court of Appeal.
According to the chairmen, government ordered workers of local government councils to embark on an indefinite forced vacation and has refused to dissolve the transition committees as directed by the court.
The LG bosses counselled that should government intend to invite them to a meeting in future, it should do so in writing specifying their official status, date, time and venue of such meeting.
But in the meantime, the council administrators advised the governor to direct the council workers to resume work immediately.
Meanwhile, the crisis in the councils is reported to be taking its toll on the state.
Candidates of Imo origin who are billed to participate in the on-going army recruitment exercise cannot do so owing to their inability to obtain letters certifying them indigenes of their respective local governments.
This problem stems from the forced holiday given to council workers by the state government.
The tirade launched against the police by the state government for aiding the returnee council administrators to reclaim their seats is said to have infuriated the authorities of the police force resulting in the withdrawal of police orderlies attached to some elected and appointed government officials.
Meanwhile, some re-instated local council chairmen and their councilors, have ordered immediate freezing of the accounts of their local governments.
As at the time of going to press, the legislative councils of Ehime Mbano, Orlu, Ohaji/Egbema and Ngor Okpala local government areas have slammed an embargo on their respective council accounts.
Apart from freezing the accounts, the councilors equally passed resolutions on other far reaching issues affecting the administration of their local councils.
Ehime Mbano Legislative Council not only froze the council account, including the Consolidated Rescue Project account in the custody of Zenith Bank, Wetheral Road, Owerri, but also ordered it to forward a comprehensive statement of account to the Council.