Sen. Athan Achonu, the Labour Party candidate in the November 11 governorship election in Imo State, has faulted plans by the State government to conduct council polls a few months before the guber election.
Achonu made his stance known while addressing newsmen in Owerri, on Wednesday.
It was reported that the Imo Governor, Sen. Hope Uzodimma had in a meeting with leaders of the All Progressives Congress last April, promised to conduct local government elections no later than July 2023.
The timetable for the elections has, however, not been announced, four days to the end of July.
Achonu, represented by the Director-General of his campaign organization, Mr. Chime Nzeribe, argued that council polls should be conducted by governors upon their assumption of office rather than months before a governorship election.
He decried the delay in the conduct of the council polls, describing it as a “betrayal of the real motive” behind the election.
According to him, the timing of local government elections should reflect, not a desperate desire to groom supporters at the grassroots level for the ruling party, but a sincere desire to empower the local governments and make them work in the interest of the masses.
“We are at a loss why a government that has almost exhausted its constitutionally guaranteed four years in office, has woken up on the eve of its exit, to perform a very crucial task it bluntly ignored when it had all the time in the world to do so.
“The choice of this seemingly odd hour to conduct local government elections underscores the fact that it’s being motivated by re-election desperation, and not the collective welfare and well-being of the Imo electorate, especially the millions of rural dwellers.
“As your governor, I will conduct local council elections upon assumption of office and not weeks to the next election as seen today.
“Local government autonomy will solve some of our problems ranging from insecurity to grassroots development, youth empowerment, among others,” he said.
He urged Imo people to keep faith with his ‘Take-Back-Imo‘ agenda.