Criticism and condemnations have continued to trail attempts by local government chairman in the state to frustrate full implementation of the local government autonomy policy as granted by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Reaction to the development, Chairman of the State APC Youth causes, Obong Iniobong John alleged that the state governor, Udom Emmanuel spent about N1.5 billion to get endorsement of local government chairmen to sign against the autonomy.
He said that having failed to get the court to stop the implementation of the autonomy, the state government, in collaboration with the 31 LG chairmen, has concluded plans to sponsor street protest against the implementation of the policy.
According to him, the planned meeting to stage a street protest took place Wednesday at Shelter Afrique Housing Estate along the Victor Attah International Airport in the residence of an immediate past commissioner, and in attendance were the 31 local government chairman and top PDP stakeholders. He described the position of the chairman and the state government as inimical to the development of the grassroots and banal hypocrisy.
Earlier, the immediate past state Attorney -General, Uwemedimo Nwoko had denied the allegations saying that the State is not against the proposed autonomy.
He said the state governing was in court to challenge the power of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (UFIU) to superintend over the affairs of local government areas, which according to him, was teh responsibility of the legislature.
Furthermore, he stated that the decision of the state government to challenge NFIU guidelines, which is seeking to take over the control of local government areas was borne out of constitutional concerns and its implications.
Citizens of the state have also condemned the decision, expressing doubt over Udom's goodwill for the state. Many have expressed dismay over those they described as “illiterate stooges” planted by the state government at the local governments as chairmen.
When contacted, a research fellow from the political science department of the University of Uyo, Vincent Aluu said sections s7 and 8 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, says the functions, structure and operations of the local governments were the functions of the state government and until those sections were either amended or totally expunged from the constitution, the issue of full autonomy would remain an object of hot debate.
He however agreed that state governments have abused and exploited the Local Governments through the joint account, but the matter should be handled with care.