Ozigbo Advises Labour Party to Sue Soludo for Disobeying Court Orders Over LG Elections

Valentine Ozigbo, 2021 gubernatorial candidate in Anambra State, has called on Governor Chukwuma Soludo to conduct proper local government elections. This appeal follows a recent court order that has significant implications for the state’s governance and finances.

Valentine Ozigbo

On Thursday, the FCT High Court in Apo restrained the Accountant General of the Federation and the Federal Minister of Finance from further remitting funds to Anambra’s 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs). The court directed that these funds be placed in an interest-bearing account managed by the Chief Registrar of the FCT High Court until a substantive hearing takes place. Additionally, the court mandated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the use of funds allocated to Anambra’s LGAs between March 22, 2022, and April 30, 2024. The EFCC is required to submit an Affidavit of Compliance and an Investigation Report within 30 days.

Ozigbo sees this development as a positive step toward accountability. “The corruption-laden use of appointed Caretaker Committees to manage the affairs of Local Governments has been consistently deemed illegal,” he stated. Since Governor Soludo’s inauguration on March 17, 2022, the use of these committees has continued, despite promises to end the practice.

Court documents revealed that Anambra State received N7.3 billion in March 2024 for its 21 LGAs. Over the past two years, approximately N175 billion may have been allocated to these local governments. Ozigbo emphasized the potential impact of these funds, suggesting that they could have significantly improved local schools, healthcare, markets, and overall living conditions in areas such as Ayamelum, Ogbaru, Idemili South, and Ekwusigo, which have seen little government presence.

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“This N175 billion is not part of the State Government’s allocation or the internally generated revenue in Anambra,” Ozigbo noted, highlighting the importance of these funds being used properly.

With the state’s heightened insecurity since Soludo took office, Ozigbo believes that continuing to remit funds without elected local government councils is counterproductive. He praised Chukwuebuka Mmeni, the applicant who sought the court order, for exposing the alleged mismanagement of funds by the Anambra State Government.

Ozigbo also urged the state government not to waste resources on legal battles to overturn the court order. “The order clearly serves the interests of Ndi Anambra. The illegality of the Caretaker Committees cannot be overstated, and no sophistry-cloaked legal argument can defend the indefensible,” he argued.

Ozigbo called on the state government to prioritize conducting genuine local government elections. He also advised his party, the Labour Party, to join the suit if Soludo continues to contest the court order without holding the elections.

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