About three months ago, a suspension order was placed on the Ika South Local Government Council chairman, Hon. Hilary Ibude by the Delta State House of Assembly on allegation of financial impropriety. The chairman was subsequently relieved of his position and his deputy, Hon. Festus Izoje became the acting council chairman. As Hon. Ibude resumes duty after being away for this long, Ika Weekly went to town to sought the views of residents of the local government area on the suspension and its effects on governance in the LGA.
Most of those interviewed initially declined comments on the issue saying that they do not want to be part of the abracadabra which politicians in Nigeria have turned governance into. With persistence however, some of them agreed to talk, on the condition that their names will not be in print. Even those who agreed to give their names however refused vehemently to have their photographs on the newspapers stating that they do not want to be victimized by anybody.
According to Mr. Felix Okuazu, "the suspension of the Ika South Council Chairman, was not done in good faith as there are powerful interest that facilitated the action, because in my own personal understanding, it was to further their hold on power. I am quite aware that there are so many factions in the Peoples Democratic Party in Ika South, and each group is always contriving situations that could protect their interest and strengthen their hold on power and relevance. This whole suspension drama was not done in the interest of the people of Ika South, it was for the selfish gains of some political actors who are hell bent on reaming politically relevant. So you can see that it is not worth it. Let me ask, since the suspension did they come out openly to tell the people the outcome of the investigation of the House of Assembly which placed the suspension order? You accused a man of financial irresponsibility and ordered him to vacate his office, yet you did not deem it right to make your findings public. They all know what they are doing. It is all a game of deception. Our politicians are continually deceiving the people. And unfortunately, our people have remained blinded to their intrigues. The scales are yet to fall off the eyes of the people, whose living condition continue to deteriorate every day, while the so-called political leaders are relishing in luxury.
Another respondent, Mr. Enuani Solomon expressed thus "whether the council chairman was suspended or not does not affect the lives of the people positively. We are talking about suspension, look at our roads, they are all in very terrible condition. Nobody is doing anything about them. People who are in office are only interested in embezzling public money that is supposed to be in then care, which by are meant to utilize for the good and well-being of the populace. What do they do instead, they indulge in shamelessly stealing our collective wealth and turn around to intimidate us with it. Sadly, the poor who are the direct recipients of their misgovernance and selfish inclinations are the ones fighting over themselves to applaud them and sing their praises. My brother, it really sad. A man rides to power on the back of the people, with the promise to provide needed social amenities, but what do we get immediately he assumes power; complete neglect and abandonment. He becomes engrossed in self-aggrandizement, while expecting the people to be praising him, even in the face of poor performance."
A technician along Baleke street, who pleaded strongly for anonymity challenged all the political office holders in Ika South both past and present to come forward to tell the people of the local government area what they have achieved since 1999 when the country retuned to civil rule. He berated those that called themselves political leaders for tuning Ika South into a political war-zone, a situation, he claimed has rendered the LGA "politically impotent and infrastructurally desolate." How can you be here asking me of my opinion on the suspension of Hon. Ibude when the people of this LGA are groaning under neglect and decayed infrastructure. Whether they give or lift suspension is not our concern. Our concern is for them to do the right thing. What happened to the Ediken street construction and the grading of all roads in Ika South promised by the council? All of those promises have gone with the wind. Soon they will start asking for our votes, without fulfilling their earlier promises."
A teacher in one of the primary schools in the metropolis observed that the suspension of Hon. Ibude was a test of political might and relevance that does not have direct bearing the well-being of the people of Ika South. "It is too glaring to miss now. How can you convince me that the exercise was carried out in the interest of the people. It was a political fight, and you and I know that when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. It has nothing to do with the people. Looting of government treasury is a non-stop adventure in this country. Our leaders steal the counting blind and make the people believe that whatever they do is in the best interest. You and I know that it is not true. Whether the suspended chairman resumes or not is not my business. I will however, advise him to watch his back and do the right thing as that is the only way he can win the support of the people of Ika South who are gradually losing faith in his administration, which has not been able to fulfill most of his much vaunted promises.
A staff of the Ika South Local Government Council, who also craved anonymity welcomed the expiration of the suspension, pointing out that the absence of the chairman in the last three months created a leadership vacuum that impacted negatively on the administration of the council, as a lot of things were left undone. He opined that Ika South has not been lucky since the time of B&G who gave the LGA a sense of direction. He noted that most of the people who have piloted the affairs of the council have only been interested in enlarging their pockets to the detriment of the populace who are reeling under the weight of neglect. He therefore advised politicians to always put the interest of the people ahead of their selfish interest, as according to him "that is the only way they can leave lasting legacy that will be cherished by generation."
Others who bared their minds described the suspension as purely politically motivated as the accusation leveled against has been consigned into irrelevance, enthusing that nothing will be heard of the issue again. "Those politicians know how to manipulate and take the people for a ride. So all the noise about financial rascality is just over. They have quietly settled themselves without recourse to the pains we are going through." One of them lamented.
When Ika Weekly visited the home of the Ika South Local Government Council Chairman, Hon Hilary Ibude to get his views and his experiences during the 3 months long suspension, he was not available, as one of his aides informed the our reporter that he had traveled out of town.