The Enugu State government has approved N310m to enable the state Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) to conduct the forthcoming local government elections scheduled to take place on November 4 in the state, urging the electoral body to ensure free, fair and smooth polls.
Briefing newsmen on the outcome of the state executive council meeting presided over by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Ogbuagu Anikwe, stated that the fund was an addition to the N25 million earlier released to the Commission on July 19 as a take-off fund for the election.
Mr. Anikwe further noted that the approval followed a financial request for funds made to government by the chairman of ENSIEC, Dr. Mike Ajogwu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, adding that it would be used for the procurement of sensitive materials, ballot papers, election forms and other logistics for the conduct of the council elections.
According to the commissioner, “The funds will be deployed for procurement of sensitive materials, ballot papers and election forms, transportation, security, publicity and payment of honoraria and allowances to fulltime and ad-hoc staff”.
He added that the state government has also announced that it has constituted new executive management committees for all affected local government councils where interim administrators have indicated interest in running for the office during the November 4 elections, explaining further that ENSIEC time table for the elections shows there will be contestants for the 17 chairmanship and 260 councillorship positions, with runoff elections scheduled for December 2, if any.
According to him, “Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi announced during the council’s meeting that in accordance with the law, interim chairmen of LGs and their deputies who have expressed interest in contesting the elections have resigned their appointments”.
The governor had earlier sworn-in newly constituted Transition Committees of the councils which will oversee governance at the local governments for the period of four months, charging them to be impartial and non-partisan in the performance of their duties, especially during the coming council elections.
Governor Ugwunayi had exhibited rare political managerial ability during the just-concluded primary elections of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), working with the leaders of the party and other stakeholders to navigate the knotty situations bred by the exercise safely to resolutions that have restored calmness in the polity.
He had obtained the consent of the leaders and stakeholders to get party leaderships at the level of the 260 electoral wards in the state to take active part in the emergence of candidates for the posts to be contested during the elections.