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Anambra’s Circle of Perpetual Local Government Transition Committee

All hail King Soludo

“In Governor Willie Obiano’s two terms of eight years, there was no mention of local government election” —Ebuka Onyekwelu

For over a decade, Anambra State has not conducted a local government election. The last local government election in Anambra State was conducted by Governor Peter Obi, just three months before his exit as governor, after two terms of eight years. It is not clear if what Obi conducted can be rightly regarded as an election, but that is the only exercise Anambra had experienced since this democratic dispensation. Before Peter Obi, Dr. Ngige during his stint as Anambra governor also used the transition committee model and he kept giving hope of conducting local government elections till he was removed by the court.


Between 2014 and 2022 which marked Governor Willie Obiano’s two terms of eight years, there was no mention of local government election. Obiano did not pretend to be interested in the conduct of local government elections, nor did he try to create any impression of a noble intent about the independence of local government. He simply made use of the Transition Committee model which the House of Assembly renewed once in three months in an electoral college. For eight years, Obiano used a transition committee to run Anambra’s twenty-one local governments.

During the electioneering campaign in 2021, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo the incumbent governor, promised to conduct a local government election in the first six months of his administration. He has now been in office for over two years and he would not conduct the local government election, at least not in his first four years. Thoughtful of his commitment to conduct local government election, Soludo had decided to do a ‘mock’ selection of local government chairmen by APGA leaders. Some members of APGA in each local government had been tasked with nominating three persons, one of whom the governor will then appoint as the transition chairman. In a way, the governor was just trying to find justification for his continued use of the transition committee model, by making it look like it came from the people. The exercise which is now brewing crisis for the party on different fronts gives a hint that it might actually cause more harm and damage to the party than its intended gains.

The simple fact remains that Prof. Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State has not conducted a local government election as he promised and this internal arrangement by APGA cannot be compared in any way imaginable, to a local government election of any sort. So, we are back to the same maneuvering of the law through the regular renewal of the transition committee by the Anambra State Assembly.

There are two major problems with the transition committee model. First is the burden of accountability and manifest misappropriation of funds under the arrangement. The whole idea is that the transition committee chairmen in Anambra get a few million Naira monthly and then sign off the remaining tens of millions of Naira duly allocated to their local governments monthly. They do not have access to these funds, but they sign them off as though they used them. These funds are under the state government coffers and utilized by the state government on things that cannot be duly accounted for, because, the local government funds are not appropriated by the State Assembly which appropriates monies spent by the State Government. In a way, these funds are like “free monies” that the governor spends at will without appropriation and there is no accountability, whatsoever.

The governor or the state government determines every single facet of the life of ndi Anambra.

The second problem is that is it a deliberate attack on democracy. As it stands today, the governor or the state government determines every single facet of the life of ndi Anambra. Every appointment and governance directive comes from Awka, the state capital. In consequence, one would have noticed the rush and excessive dependence on Awka for every single thing and this in itself is a disempowerment of the people whose closest touch with government is the state.

When we look at how successive Anambra governors have treated the issue of local government election, it might appear that Obiano who neither made any commitment nor pretended to be interested in local government election for his eight years on the saddle, by all assessment, looked like a hero. Peter Obi who tried a sham local government election and blacklisted Nnewi North local government that was bent on voting for the Labour Party candidate in that election, also looked like a hero of local government in Anambra state. Both men look better than Prof. Soludo, who made a promise on his honour to conduct the election in six months, but has failed to do so. During his swearing-in on March 17th, 2022, the governor again committed to conducting the local government election within two years in office and also promised some reforms in the local government administration. Again, he has failed to do so.

It is yet to be seen just how the ongoing exercise of selecting three nominees would replace duly publicly elected local government officers, which the governor had promised.

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