By Sunny A. David
Vehicular movement was on Wednesday suspended for hours in Awka, Anambra State capital following a peaceful protest by a Human Right Group, Recover Nigeria Project.
The group blocked the expressway with placards with different inscriptions, demanding immediate conduct of local government election in Anambra State to ease the suffering of the people, particularly those at the grassroots.
The Convener of the group, Mr. Osita Obi described the non conduct of the poll as criminal denial of citizens political right.
He gave the State Governor, Willie Obiano, five months ultimatum to commence process or face other legal actions.
The protest was in conjunction with the Association of Councillors of Anambra State, led by Hon. Sir Godson Nnuriam as Chairman and Hon. Ifeanyi Obi, as Secretary as well as 50 drivers of Great Tippers Drivers Association of Nigeria, Anambra State Chapter, Association of Councillors of Anambra State, among other concerned support groups.
The protesters carried placards with different inscriptions including, “Caretaker Committees are Undertakers, Obiano pay us gratuity, Obiano conduct local government, among others”
Mr. Obi appealed to both Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Nigeria Union of Local Employees (NULGE) in the State to join forces towards addressing the anomaly.
He said, “Vibrant local government system is a faster means of reaching people at the grassroots.
“If elections are held in the local government areas, it will create jobs, reduce insecurity and serve as breeding ground for good politicians.”
The State Chairman of Great Tippers Association, Chief Ebuka Davies and his counterpart of State Councillors Association, Mr. Godson Nnuriam, said it was infringement of the people’s political right not to allow the people to elect their leaders at the grassroot levels in a democratic system.
Reacting, State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C-Don Adinuba, condemned the protest, describing it as a politically motivated action by a desperate politician.
Mr. Adinuba in a statement, said the drivers were being manipulated by a desperate politician who could not wait for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to lift the ban on the electioneering campaign for the office of the Governor which will hold in November 2021.
The statement partly read, “Government noticed that the politician seems too ignorant and desperate to know that the question of an election into Local Governments in the State is sub judice, as it is, before the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
“Being unable to accept the State Government’s victory on this matter at the Court of Appeal, a handful of opposition politicians escalated the litigation to the Supreme Court rather than accept the decision of the Court of Appeal in good faith and prepare for an election.
“Anambra had over the years remained Nigeria’s safest and most peaceful State, with a level of social harmony unknown in any other part of the country since the restoration of democratic rule.”
Appreciating the loyalty of most members of the tipper drivers union to the State, the Commissioner urged them to remain law abiding and patriotic.