By Ralph EJIMKONYE
Fear of the unknown have gripped Local Government Chairmen and Councillors who found their way into the third tier of government in Imo State.
The Chairmen were elected into office last year but the loss of Uche Nwosu, the Action Alliance governorship candidate in the just concluded governorship election in Imo State, has sent shock down the spines of the Council Bosses. They are now uncertain of their future.
The Chairmen are known to be core loyalists of Governor Rochas Okorocha who worked for Uche Nwosu during the governorship polls. All the effort ended in futility as Nwosu lost toEmeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP who raced to victory.
This newspaper observed that most of the Council Chairmen are unsure of their fate while some of them believe that Ihedioha’s victory will be upturned on the grounds that he did not meet the required constitutional requirement to have 2/3rds in at least 18 Local Governments to be pronounced winner of the polls.
This newspaper learnt that some of the Chairmen have been hooked to this line of argument propounded by Uche Nwosu’s camp who have consistently called for a re run accusing INEC in Imo State of manipulating the election result in favour of Ihedioha.
However some of them who spoke on condition of anonymity said they fear that the Governor Elect, Ihedioha may tow the path Okorocha did in 2011 when he sacked Council Chairmen mainly of PDP extraction despite the fact they were duly elected. Despite the pronouncement by several courts in the land that the Chairmen were illegally removed, Okorocha stood his ground and insisted that the Chairmen must go.
Another Council Boss who also spoke on condition of anonymity said there is no cause for alarm as the incoming government has no locus standi to send them packing because it is unconstitutional for the incoming Governor to do so.
” That Okorocha sacked Council Chairmen when he came into office in 2011 does not make it right for another Governor to tow the same path. Illegality does not beget Illegality” he said.
Top sources close to the Governor Elect refused to disclose to this newspaper what the incoming Ihedioha administration will do with the Council Chairmen installed by Okorocha.
” The Governor Elect is a seasoned politician who understands what governance is all about. He has been in the highest echoleon of the legislative arm of government thus he understands what leadership, governance and constitutionalism is all about.
Newspaper reports in Owerri had claimed that some of the Chairmen and some government functionaries in Okorocha’s government are reaching out to the new Governor since Nwosu lost the governorship election. This Newspaper could not verify these claims as the time of filing this report.
A political analyst, Mr. Sebastine Okenwa told this newspaper ” legally it may be wrong for Ihedioha to sack the Council Chairmen, but it is politically right if he goes ahead to kick them out if he really wants to actualize his plans for the grassroots, the LGAs which has been in limbo during Okorocha’s tenure.
“One of the ways Ihedioha will put smiles on the faces of many Imolites is to get the Local Government system to function at optimum level.
“Okorocha knew he could not entrust the local governments in the hands of his political adversaries at that time that was why he sacked the Council Chairmen despite the fact it was unconstitutional..
” If Ihedioha tows that same path I will not condemn him but I know he is a man who know the Constitution very well and knows exactly what to do
*Decamping To PDP An Option?
In a State politics is all about interests, political analysts predict that the Council Chairmen may choose the option of political survival by decamping to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP if they want to be on their seats when the new government takes over.
” It will be suicidal for them to be on their seats as Council Chairmen and be supporting the opposition against the ruling government. This is a political solution to their present predicament much as they stand on the path of what the law says” said Mr. Ifeanyi Onyekachi, a newspaper columnist based in Owerri
This is the case in the search for Speaker of the House where newly elected lawmakers from Okigwe zone from the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA and the Action Alliance, AA may be under pressure to decamp to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The PDP has no elected House member from Okigwe Zone, a difficult situation for the incoming government which will need a “friendly legislature” to enable the Governor Elect actualize his plans and vision for Imo State.
This newspaper had reported that some of incoming lawmakers may join the PDP if they really intend to grab the the number three citizen post in Imo State. This may apply to the Council Chairmen who are in dilemma over their fate as Ihedioha comes on board on May 29, 2019.