Movement 1960, a civil rights group in Nigeria, has called for the immediate resignation of Udom Emmanuel, governor of Akwa Ibom state.
This is even as a political pressure group in the state, Akwa Ibom State Leadership Vanguard, has labelled the governor “a devious exploiter”.
The groups were reacting to a suit filed by the state government in collaboration with the 31 local government council chairmen, seeking a restraining order barring the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) from implementing financial autonomy in Local Government Areas of the state.
Movement 1960, in a media briefing in Uyo, Akwa Ibom capital, said “the governor having failed to live up to his promises of acting in the overall interest of Akwa Ibom people should resign with immediate effect.”
Eteka Ambrose, national president of the group, said “The desperation on the part of the Governor to sponsor the 31 LGA chairmen to court against the will of the people is appalling .”
He accused the governor of using the state house of assembly to frustrate the efforts of the national assembly to amend the constitution by abrogating the state/local joint account.
The Akwa Ibom assembly had declined voting on the constitutional amendment proposal on LG autonomy.
This, according to Ambrose, was “a connivance between Udom Emmanuel and his colleagues in other states of the federation”.
“As a legal practitioner, I know how state governors are doing everything humanly possible to frustrate the process of financial autonomy to the Local Government. Section 162 (6) of the 1999 Constitution which validates the existence of State Local Government Joint Account is to be amended, but our Houses of Assembly opposed ratifying the amendment proposals,” he said.
“The planned conspiracy by the State Government, who is the plaintiff in the suit joined by the Local Government Chairman is a major economic sabotage just to divert monies meant for the development of the rural communities.
“What the federal government has done now is a matter of necessity, and I stand by it. NFIU’s action has been endorsed by the Senate. The process of amending Section 162 (6) of the 1999 Constitution has been revived. Udom should resign if he is not comfortable with the directive.”
Barr. Ambrose, however, called on the state government to quickly withdraw the case from court “as it constitutes an embarrassment to the state.”
The Akwa Ibom Leadership Vanguard, in a statement signed by its convener, Daniel Esitikot, said Akwa Ibom people should ask questions about how the state’s allocation and revenue are utilised.
Esitikot, who noted that “Governor Emmanuel’s body language presents him as a devious exploiter and pilferer of the Akwa Ibom commonwealth”, decried the level of underdevelopment in the grassroots.
“Despite being the highest federal allocation earner in Nigeria, the Local Government in Akwa Ibom has nothing to show for such huge cash inflow,” he said.
“We condemn the state government’s action in its entirety, and commend the federal government and the National Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), for this people-oriented initiative.”