Chairman of the Imo State Independent Electoral Commission (ISIEC), Hon Ethelbert Ibebuchi has apologized to the people for the failure of the commission to conduct elections into the different local government positions for the past seven years, saying efforts have been put in place to address them.
Ibebuchi made the disclosure while addressing critical stakeholders at the ISIEC headquarters in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
He said “ISIEC regrets that elections into the local government councils ought to have come before now. However, this couldn’t be on account of mounting challenges streamed along, for which strenuous efforts have been deployed in order to put things right”.
According to him, in Nigeria, there is no better way to deepen democracy without recognizing the grassroots which will result in the conduct of peaceful, free and fair local government elections.
He explained that “our democracy has come to stay and most of us will concur in the affirmative for our democratic ethics, norms and values to be sustained without flinching, the grassroots has a critical role to play”, Ibebuchi stated.
He disclosed that council polls will hold on July 14, 2018 throughout the state pursuant to Imo state law number 5 of 2001 and part (IV) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
The Electoral umpire boss stated the readiness of the commission to conduct credible elections even as he called former support and cooperation.
Further, Ibebuchi stated that election guidelines and timetable have been released and called on registered political parties to set up the necessary machinery to select candidates to stand for elections.
He said the council election is long overdue adding that all hands must be on deck to make it a huge success.
It would be recalled that Governor Rochas Okorocha had upon assumption of office seven years ago, announced the immediate dissolution of elected council chairmen and councillors. An action that forced council Representatives seek redress at the law court.
While the court said their removal was illegal, the State government appealed the decision and the matter is currently at the Supreme Court.