Governor Hyacinth Alia of Benue State has come under fire from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for allegedly weakening the rule of law by appointing caretaker committees for local government areas.
PDP claims that the action is unsupported by law and raises doubts about the governor’s commitment to the promised autonomy for local government administration.
According to a statement released by the Benue PDP and signed by Chief Bemgba Iortyom (Vande-U-Mbaiwer), the state publicity secretary, all 23 local government councils’ caretaker committees were appointed without the necessary enabling law from the Benue State House of Assembly.
The PDP claims that the committee chairmen disregarded the legislature’s required screening, infringing on due process.
PDP said that Alia’s actions are a direct contradiction to his election-year 2023 campaign pledges to provide local government more power.
However, PDP claims that the governor’s attitude to local government affairs since taking office has been characterized by the disobedience of a number of court judgments that uphold the terms of previously elected councils.
In the April 30, 2022 local council elections, 23 council chairmen were elected on the PDP platform; their sworn terms are scheduled to end on June 28, 2024. The PDP reminded the public of this.
Alia allegedly established a committee that promptly recommended the suspension of the councils and their chairmen in defiance of court rulings, including one rendered by Hon. Justice (Dr.) I. J. Essien that specifically forbade the dissolution of elected councils.
Iortyom claimed that these acts clearly contravene court rulings that are currently in effect, raising issues related to democracy and law.
Accusing the governor of duplicity, he claimed that his pledge of autonomy was a ruse to get support in the upcoming elections.
Therefore, the PDP urged the governor to protect democratic values in the state, respect the rule of law, and revoke the appointment of caretaker committees.