By: Ned Uchendu, Staff Writer
It has been resonating though in hushed tones if the local government election in Imo State will hold or not in December 2019 as announced by the State electoral umpire, Imo State Independent Electoral Commission, ISIEC.
In Nigeria, State Governors maintain stronghold of the local governments.The Councils are run by apron strings or lackeys of the Governors who prefer caretaker bosses or transition committees as heads of the Councils.
Previous administrations in Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim and Rochas Okorocha ran the local governments with caretaker committees, only to hold local government elections during the dying days of their administrations.
Governor Emeka Ihedioha’s administration is running the Councils differently, demonstrating strong commitment to hold the polls. It will go down in history as the first elected government in Imo State to democratize the Councils in its first tenure if the election eventually holds in December.
But a cloud of uncertainty is hovering over the polls. The Interim Management Committees, IMC who run the Councils, have been reported to be seeking for extension of their tenures.They were appointed six months ago and were due to leave even before the polls take place.
The ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the State also have its fair share and loads of problems dealing with the coming local government elections. The issue of nomination of candidates is a big hurdle it has to cross.
Party chieftains and leaders are alleged to be involved in political schisms, as many of them have been accused of anointing preferred candidates in the midst of multitude of chairmanship aspirants.
This has been adjudged a recipe for choas amongst members who are craving for flow of patronage as the ruling party in the State.
The party leadership is yet to take action as regards the polls. No timelines have been released yet for primaries for hundreds of aspirants who have shown interest in the election which has been nicknamed the grassroot election.
ISIEC, the electoral umpire, has said there is going back in holding the elections because it had embarked on delineation of local governments into wards.
The Commission further said it will use INEC wards to hold the elections, a bold statement which signals it’s readiness
For the first time also, the local government elections will take place in Imo State with the active involvement of some of the opposition political parties. This has never happened before as candidates of the political party in power usually sweep the polls.