‘Why I was removed as Uvwie council chairman’
CHAIRMAN of Uvwie Local Council of Delta State, Henry Minabonware Baro, who was removed from office by the State House of Assembly last month, has said that misconceptions about his allegiance to the state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, led to his suspension.
Baro, who spoke while addressing a press conference in Abuja, explained that his “unconstitutional removal which lacked the backing of two-third majority of the legislature as required by constitution was purely as a matter mistrust.”
According to him, 13 out of the 20 councillors in the council legislative arm had voted against prior moves to oust him as chairman, saying that this was because of the impact he had been able to make in the lives of people and Uvwie council area which he described as highly urbane and a commercial nerve centre of the state.
Explaining why he and 13 members of the council legislature were in Abuja, the petroleum engineering expert stated that it was to seek wider intervention, especially by the President, National Assembly and other well-meaning Nigerians who believe in justice and fair play.
Baro, who said that all efforts by him and top political big wigs in the state to resolve the matter had failed, expressed shock that the state governor had refused to comment on the matter despite entreaties from various quarters, including the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON). He added that the state media had also refused to accord him the privilege of being heard, even as he alleged threat to his life and those of his supporters by state authorities.
The suspended council, while calling on President Mohammed Buhari to wade into the matter, however said that he believed the governor was misguided, adding that he was prepared to work with Okowa whom he described as father of all in the state.
He stated that after the primaries that brought the state governor to power, he and his supporters quickly aligned with and congratulated the governor.
“I did not do any campaign of hate against Okowa. After the primaries where he emerged winner, I congratulated him. To prove to him that we believe in him, I campaigned for him. I even delivered my constituency to him. Prior to the election, I campaigned for him before our people. That is why my constituency voted for him. Elections have come and gone. But what happened was that, initially I was in support of another candidate. After the governor emerged, I wholeheartedly embraced him and worked for his success,” Baro clarified.
Meanwhile, Hon. Joan Etu and Hon. Kelly Ileleji, speaking on behalf of the 13 legislators, have expressed shock over the ouster of the council chief, saying they were surprised that after thorough in-house investigations, they observed that the removal was neither on grounds of fraud nor on poor performance. The legislators, therefore, canvassed for intervene for his immediate reinstatement.