Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State
By Emmanuel Ugwu
Abia State House of Assembly has said that it has not shifted from its stance that the planned local government election time table be extended by at least three months from the January 2013 date proposed by the state Governor Theodore Orji.
The governor had announced that the much expected poll would take place in the first month of next year to end the cycle of transition committee administration being operated in the 17 councils for over two years now.
But the Deputy Speaker of Abia legislature, Hon Allwell Asiforo Okere, who is also the chairman of the House committee on information and strategy, told journalists that the House was against the proposed date in order to give the Abia Sate Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC) adequate time to prepare and conduct a free, fair and credible poll.
He said it was the view of the House that there was nothing on ground to indicate that the state electoral body could handle the poll at the beginning of next year hence the lawmakers suggested that the election be held in April.
“The issue of local government election postponement was one of the hard decisions the House has taken in recent time,” he said, adding that as representatives of the people the lawmakers would not want a situation where people would be fooled and made to waste their money in an election that is not feasible.
According to him, the House has observed that ABSIEC was yet to conclude the ward delineation exercise and has not also come up with a budget for the poll as well as taking cognizance of the other activities involved in the electoral process.
On the growing concern over the poor internally generated revenue of the state, the Deputy Speaker said that members of the legislature were deeply concerned about the “continually dwindling” IGR and have been taking steps to address the problem.
He said that it was out of concern to tackle the problem that the House had summoned the chairman of the Board of Internal Revenue, Chidozie Umeh who, according to him did not give satisfactory explanation for the dwindling IGR profile.