As the countdown to Friday May 29th, 2015 handover date and assumption of office of the new officers of government commonly known as the “Democracy Day” in Nigeria, is at its climax, enthusiasm by supporters and members of the incoming family into governance at all levels is high with expectations atleast for a change of attitude to a more admirable, comfortable way of life.
For over two years running, the people of Rivers State have been in bondage since no one could rescue them from insult, disrespect, intimidation, harassment and ofcourse ill-treatment by those who never care to listen.
The Rivers State House of Assembly complex was lock with impunity without recourse to the importance it has to the citizenry. The state judiciary was also sacked without a second thought of it as the valid means that brought the outgoing administration in state into power.
And if Issues Abattoir is to comment on it, then the Supreme Court officials who had perfected that seeming Mathematics that ushered Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi into office as governor, probably may have regretted their actions considering the plight of Judges, lawyers and other judiciary workers in Rivers.
In several for a, Rivers State was described as a state without justice system or a state with only the executive arm of government. It become worrisome that in a democratic system Rivers State operates only with the executive arm leaving the judiciary and legislatures under local and key. Indeed it amount to a sorry state.
In the previous edition of Issues Abattoir, it commended the transition cum inauguration committees, the Peoples Democratic Party and the incoming governor for their frantic efforts in making the Assembly complex looks homely, while urging them to ensure same at the judiciary complex as well as ensure the spiritual cleansing of the abandoned or collapsed institutions in the state.
In this edition, Issues Abattoir intends to draw attention of the incoming governor or the governor as at tomorrow (Friday 29th May, 2015 as well and the members of the State Assembly to the status of the local government laws particularly as it regulates the conduct of the local government elections.
The 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended bestow powers on the respective states House of Assembly to make laws in respect to this subject matter, hence the controversies that surrounded the inefficient Rivers State Independent electoral Commission (RSIEC) and its factional Assembly counterpart led by Otelemaba Dan Amachree and Chidi Lloyd.
It was a show of shame when the Assembly leader Chidi Lloyd and the commission (RSIEC) disagreed on the issues of duration for notification for election date which undoubtedly is a constitutional matter. It would be recalled that while Chidi was contemplating between three (3) to five (50 days as notification period, the commission was saying fourteen (14) days as against the stipulated ninety (90) days by the electoral act as well as the local government laws of 2012 as amended.
While it is a norm that matters such as amendment of period for election notification and preparation should attract a public hearing where respective stakeholders would meaningfully contribute, it was noticed that the Assembly treated with absurdity such issues that ought to be handled with carefulness and respect to the constitution. Thus, the abysmal nature with which the issue was handled has without mincing words thrown the Assembly and the commission into two negative divides, hence the unproductive conduct, control and exercise by the commission.
Many citizens believed that the purported local government elections conducted by the Rivers State government under governor Amaechi and the commission under Prof. Augustine Ahiazu was only a ploy to siphon Rivers fund to private pockets.
It would be recalled that the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers uptil date still swim in the dark waters of failure over the conduct of March 28, presidential and National Assembly elections as well as April 11 governorship and House of Assembly election held in Rivers which they failed to secure any.
If any group should be afraid or jittery over elections in Rivers, it shouldn’t be the PDP who won the sitting government in both presidential and even the governorship elections.
To this end one would believe that reasons for boycotting the said mock election of last Saturday as given by the PDP were in tandem with the laws.
This is prompted because the said election was nothing to write home about from the reports gathered in virtually all the pulling units of the state.
Though the exercise was marred with apathy, it was also an indication that the APC lacks formidability, structure and offcourse standard to lieu voters to cast votes for them.
Above all, the electoral empire could not give details of the outcome of the election rather the APC won the chairmanship in all the 22 local government areas. That cannot be a detailed result.
Yes, nothing more than what the RSIEC chairman declared was expected by citizens but in the true democratic system could that exercise be called an election?
As said earlier, it is the suggestion of Issues Abattoir that the Eight Assembly to be pronounced or inaugurated on Monday 1st June, 2015 be prompt and rise up to the challenges of saving Rivers citizens from the dilemma of period on notice for the conduct of local government elections in Rivers State to forstall further breakdown of laws and orders in the state.
The Eight Assembly should as a matter of necessity swing into normalizing the system as regards local government elections in the state, having in mind that the LGA’s are vital measuring tools for the performance of an administration or development of a state.
Issues Abattoir is confident that the position of the Assembly on local government affairs, especially as it affects the outgoing administration and incoming government would go along way to straighten democratic norms where necessary in the state.
As expectations are high on the incoming Eight Assembly, it is the prayers of Issues Abattoir that as partners and brothers in progress, above all for the overall interest of the state, that peace reign supreme amongst members that Rivers will once again witness the needed development, peace and unity.
And to all in the state, Issues Abattoir appeals for your prayers for a greater and peaceful Rivers , while wishing you all happy Transition and DemocracyDay.
Finally, to all readers of The Newswriter and admirers, contributors as well as those whose encouragement keeps the pen flowing, Issues Abattoir say, thank you.
With James Mgboineme