From Nwanosike Onu, Awka
Activist groups on Wednesday blocked Enugu-Onitsha Expressway in Awka, Anambra State, to protest the non-conduct of local government elections.
The protest was led by Osita Obi of Recover Nigeria Project (RNP), Godson Nnuriam, and Ifeanyi Obi, chairman and secretary of Association of Councillors of Anambra State.
The protest caused a gridlock
Members of Tipper Drivers’ Association blocked roads, including the popular Aroma junction leading to the state secretariat, with their vehicles.
A September 16 letter by Obi demanded conduct of the polls to ease the suffering of those at the grassroots.
According to him, non-conduct of local government election for close to eight years by the Obiano-led administration, was ‘denial of citizen’s political right’.
They gave Obiano five months to begin preparations for the elections or face legal action and mass protests.
Obi emphasised that a vibrant local government system was 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,” he said.
He urged Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Nigeria Union of Local Employees (NULGE) to jto partner their colleagues for a better Anambra.
Chairman of Great Tippers Association Chief Ebuka Davies and his State Councillors Association counterpart Godson Nnuriam said not allowing the grassroots people elect their leaders in a democratic system was an infringement of their right.
But the government said the protest was a politically-motivated action by a desperate politicians.
A statement by Information and Public Enlightenment Commissioner C. Don Adinuba condemned the action.
He said the protesters were being manipulated by a desperate politician, who could not wait for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to lift the ban on campaign.
“The politician seems too ignorant and desperate to know that the issue of local government election is before the Supreme Court.
“Being unable to accept the government’s victory 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.”