MAURICE OKAFOR writes that before his appointment as the current Director-General, Voice of Nigeria[VON DG], Mr Osita Okechukwu is noted to be among the class of disciplined Nigerian politicians, who are clamouring for a corrupt-free society as one of the greatest measures to guarantee socio-political and economic development of Nigeria. Political analysts have expressed fears that with his appointment, he will henceforth bend the rules as a social critic to belong to the class of Nigerian serving politicians, who are feeding fat on the corrupt system and will criticize no more.
But the Enugu state born politician whose honest attitude to issues is believed to be the clear cut reason why he believes extremely in President Muhammadu Buhari,even before he[Buhari] was elected as Nigeria’s head of state in 2015 is proving that he remains a social critic, as he alleges that state governors are unconstitutionally hijacking local council funds in their various states and is calling for a mass revolution against the menace.
In his press statement titled ‘MISSION TO RECOVER LOCAL COUNCILS FROM OUR GOVERNORS’ copied to THE AUTHORITY South East post’, the VON DG accused the Governors of the states in Nigeria of using their executive position to hijack their respective councils’ funds unconstitutionally.
He stated, Gentlemen of the press, is it not unconstitutional that against the letters and spirit of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which unequivocally states our local councils shall be democratically elected, but at each local election, the election is warped. The manipulation of local councils election is embarrassingly across party lines – APC, PDP et al’.
Paradoxically, the governors who attempt local council elections at all; at the same time regrettably subvert the people’s mandate. Some of you are witnesses of how in each local councils election the governors muscle the growth of democracy at the grassroots.
The VON DG questioned how the nation’s democracy will mature if there is no democracy at the grass roots. He lamented that President Buhari has authorised ‘Executive Order 10’, to remit first line charge of funds that accrues to local government areas but the state governors opposed that.
“Can there be meaningful restructuring without free and fair elections at the local government area? Remember that even when President Buhari issued Executive Order 10, to remit first line charge of funding accruing to local councils from the Federation Account, the governors in bi-partisan manner opposed it.”
Mr Okechukwu argued that there is nothing wrong with councillors managing the funds meant for the development of their respective local government areas.
He stated, “The true restructuring is when the Councillors are accountable and transparent. We are calling on all Democrats and Patriots to join the mission to recover our local councils from our governors. We must interrogate them so as to advance the frontiers of democracy.”