Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, who is aspiring to govern Anambra state, has told stakeholders, statutory delegates, local government and Ward executives of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that his administration, if elected, will conduct elections into local councils of the state within the first 12 months of office.
Okonkwo, who spoke at Ebenebe while addressing the party delegates and officials from Awka North local government area, said the development of Anambra had been stalled due to the refusal of past administrations to conduct local government elections.
Last elections to fill vacant council seats in Anambra state was held in January 2014.
But Okonkwo said the trend will be reversed immediately as local government areas have major roles to play in the progress of the state.
“The last time we had local government elections in Anambra was in January 2014. Since then, people have been appointed to manage the councils. This is against the spirit and letters of the constitution which provides that local councils would be administered by elected leaders.
“What we have however seen is an usurpation of the functions of local governments. By denying the people their right to elect their leaders at the council area, you disenfranchise them and also refuse them the use of their statutory allocations for development”, he said.
Noting that his administration would reverse the trend without delay, Dr. Okonkwo who was publicly acclaimed by the delegates and stakeholders as the man to beat in the June 26 primary election of the party, added that council areas in the state will be allowed to administer their allocations.
“We are not interested in local government funds. We know how to raise money for the projects that we have listed for execution. The local government chairmen and his councillors will be free to use their funds to build roads and develop their areas”, he said.
Okonkwo, who also paid glowing tribute to the memory of late literary icon, Prof. Chinua Achebe, also hinted that his administration will develop a Center to immortalise great Anambra sons and daughters who had made contributions to the economic, political and social development of Nigeria.
Such centre, he said, would be dedicated to study and research in the different area of scholarship.
“Yesterday (March 21) was memorial of the passage of one of our great icons and Africa’s literary giant, Prof. Chinua Achebe, my kinsman. He made great contributions to literature and we must immortalise him and all others like Sir Luis Mbanefo, Sir. Luis Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Sir Pius Okigbo, Augustine Ilodibe, Prof. Dora Akunyili and all the others.
“Their labour shall not be in vain. We shall dedicate a study and research centre in their memory to promote scholarship in the different areas of human development “, he said.
Okonkwo, who was recieved to a rousing welcome with a ram and gun salutes, promised to be a governor for all Anambra people.
“Our administration shall unify rather that divide Anambra people. We shall recreate this state for all people and bring an end to the politics of division that had been our problem”, he said.