The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused Governor Hyacinth Alia of Benue State of undermining the rule of law with the recent appointment of caretaker committees for local government areas in the state.
The move, according to PDP, is lacking legal backing, and has raised questions about the governor’s commitment to the promised autonomy for local government administration.
The Benue PDP in a statement signed by its State Publicity Secretary, Chief Bemgba Iortyom (Vande-U-Mbaiwer), asserts that the appointment of caretaker committees for all 23 local government councils was done without the required enabling law from the Benue State House of Assembly.
According to the PDP, the heads of the committees bypassed the mandatory screening by the legislature, violating due process.
PDP asserted that Alia’s actions stand in stark contrast to his campaign promises during the 2023 elections, when he vowed to grant autonomy to the local government tier.
However, according to PDP, since assuming office, the governor’s approach to local government affairs has been marked by a series of court orders, all upholding the tenure of previously elected councils, being disregarded.
The PDP reminded the public that 23 council chairmen were elected on the party’s platform in the April 30, 2022 local council elections, with a sworn-in tenure set to expire on June 28, 2024.
Despite court judgments, including one by Hon. Justice (Dr.) I. J. Essien, expressly prohibiting the dissolution of elected councils, Alia allegedly constituted a committee that swiftly recommended the suspension of the councils and their chairmen.
Iortyom stated that these actions blatantly violate existing court orders, presenting both legal and democratic concerns.
He accused the governor of hypocrisy, alleging that his promise of autonomy was a ploy to secure votes during the elections.
The PDP therefore, called on the governor to reverse the appointment of caretaker committees, respect the rule of law, and uphold democratic principles in the state.