Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi on Friday, swore-in caretaker chairmen for the 13 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the tenure of elected chairmen in the councils elapsed on May 28.
The state House of Assembly had earlier, confirmed the list of the caretaker chairmen nominees submitted by the governor.
The governor charged them to assist the government in defeating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Umahi, who also swore in other appointed political office holders at the occasion, reminded the chairmen that they were coming into office at a very ‘terrible period of COVID-19 pandemic’.
“The virus infuses fear into people but God has given us strong heart to overcome fear.
“We will not allow anyone to use COVID- 19 to instill fear into us and the disease is still avoidable through observance of personal hygiene, adherence to all precautionary protocols and prayers of our religious leaders,” he said.
The governor said that in the coming months, the state would be working with the Federal Government on re-opening of schools and its economy.
“We did not completely shut our economy but because we cannot operate in isolation, our economy cannot grow the way it is supposed to grow.
“Presently, with the gradual opening of the economy in the country, we believe that we will reach the level we planned with or without COVID- 19..
“COVID- 19 has brought lots of challenges and opportunities and we Africans should start thinking of how to develop our health institutions and agricultural potentials and technologies,” he said.
He urged the incoming chairmen to realise where their predecessors made mistakes and their areas of strongholds, all in the effort to keep to their oaths of office.
“Whatever you are doing presently, realise that you are before the social media, the public and that you must account for every fund that enters your council’s coffers.
“Your enemies will not be my enemies, make friends as you will meet challenges where people expect you to make magic and manufacture money,” he said.
Umahi thanked the out-gone chairmen for their efforts in developing the state, noting that the average of two kilometre of concrete roads they constructed in their councils would be indelible.
“These roads cost N200million each and when you pass through them on your way home, you will be revived, happier and beat your chest for doing well,” he said.
Mr Cletus Ofoke, state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, said that the caretaker chairmen came into being due to the inability of the Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission (EBSIEC) to conduct council polls in the state.
“This is due to the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the globe and most importantly, the need to avoid vacuum in the leadership of the councils.
“This action is in line with section 26 sub section one and two of Ebonyi Coronavirus and other Infectious Diseases Law 2020, section 10 paragraph C of the Ebonyi local government council and development centres law and the LGA transition committee amendment law of 2015,” he said.
Mrs Amuche Otunta, Caretaker Chairman of Afikpo North LGA, thanked the governor for appointing them and pledged on behalf of others, to justify the confidence reposed in them.