…To meet AKISIEC next week over council election
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, says conducting local government election is not top on the hierarchy of needs of the people, hence his decision to focus on what he considers more important issues that affects the electorate.
The Governor who stated this in an exclusive interview to Vanguard’s TUNDE AJAJA insisted that the state can’t afford the high cost of conducting elections for the 31 local government areas in the state.
In his words, “In hierarchy of needs, some are fundamental, urgent and important. I consider meeting other basic needs of the people as more important, but we will conduct it. I don’t sit in my office and write the names of local government caretaker committee members. I leave it for the people to decide. That is what makes the difference. We call stakeholders’ meetings and tell them we don’t have money to do elections yet”.
Continuing he said, “No matter how small an election is, it would be in about 3,000 units. Look at the personnel I would employ; the materials I would need; the generators I would buy; the security I would need; the vehicles and other resources. By the time you put all these together, you now wonder what am I set to achieve. Just for me to have someone to govern a local government, when I can call the stakeholders and they determine that in the time being, and then we use that money to pay the local government employees who have not been paid for some time, or even pay the pensioners who could die while going to vote”.
Udom submitted that the 1999 Constitution is not cast in stone, which gives him room to look at what the law allows him to do and do that in the context of available resources and what he wants to achieve for the people.
“I think my people are very happy. But we are ready to conduct the election now. I’m meeting with the state electoral commission on it this week and we will work on how to run the election. We will conduct the election”, he declared.