By Jonathan Ugbal
The Chairman of the Labor Party in Cross River has lampooned local government chairmen, their Vice and Councillors in the state for their performance in the last two and half years of their administration.
Describing their performance as abysmal, Mr. Ibok in a statement signed by him and made available to CrossRiverWatch by his spokesperson Richie Roma in Calabar, said as the third tier of government, the local government councils are the closest to the people.
Ibok said the councils are the “first and most tangible contact with government and indeed democracy that the people have, hence the need for local government chairmen to deliberately pursue the implementation of programs/projects and initiatives aimed at improving the lives of ordinary Cross Riverians”, a feature he said is “completely lacking in the present crop of chairmen” in the state.
He lamented scenarios where local government chairmen spend little or no time in their councils, which he said has led to widening more than ever, the gap between the elected and the electorate.
“Two years after coming to power, it has become evident that the chairmen, vice chairmen and councillors have lived below expectations as clearly seen in their poor performance, misappropriation of funds as well as embarking on projects that have little or no value on the electorates leaving them to the mercy of God for survival leading to a total collapse of the local government system.
“The desperation of some of the chairmen to get second terms in office has also led to massive embezzlement of public funds meant for developmental projects, in preparation for the forthcoming local government elections yet they shamefully go around to tell the electorates (that) there are no funds wondering how a business man will continue in a business that does not fetch him profit.”
Ibok who also serves in governor Ben Ayade’s cabinet as Special Adviser on Inter party affairs, appealed to him and the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission (CROSIEC) to provide a level playing ground for all contestants irrespective of party affiliation as the Labor Party under his watch is determined to chase the PDP out of the eighteen local government councils of the state.
He said the determination of the party to play a very active role in the forthcoming elections necessitated the decision of the state working committee of the party in a meeting last week to embark on a state wide membership drive to further solidify the structures of the party in all the nooks and crannies of the state.
Also, Ibok challenged the chairmen and by extension the PDP to show the people what has been their achievements since they were elected as only then will the people consider entrusting the local councils again to them.
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