Why You Should Support Local Government Autonomy

Why You Should Support Local Government Autonomy

As the third tier of government, the local government administration in the country is well recognized by the constitution. This recognition is spelt out in Section 7 ( 1) of the 1999 constitution which states that the system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is guaranteed under this constitution.

The constitution goes further to state that both the National Assembly and state House of Assembly shall make provisions for statutory allocation of public revenue to local councils in the federation.

It is, however, sad that despite this constitutional guarantee of the funding of local councils, the majority of the 774 local councils in the country are deprived of their revenue allocations to carry out their constitutionally assigned duties.

As a result of this, they have become a shadow of themselves. To put it succinctly, they have been emasculated by the various state governments which continued to hold on to their statutory revenue allocations under various guises.

The polity is awash with reports of state governments tampering with statutory allocations of revenue allocated to the local councils while the latter is unable to challenge this flagrant violation of the constitution.

This is why we want to support the current clamour for the autonomy of local councils. We consider the clamour for local council autonomy timely because the National Assembly is currently fashioning out a new constitution for the country.

As reflected in the various public sittings held throughout the country last year on the constitution review, the clamour for full autonomy for the councils should not be thrown overboard by the lawmakers. The will of the people must be respected.

Local councils are closer to the grassroots and it is only when they are independent that Nigerians can truly enjoy the dividends of democracy.

The new constitution should detach local government administrations from the state governments and ensure that funds go directly to the local councils.

Also, all the funds generated by the councils should be utilised by them for the benefit of the grassroots people.

A provision should also be made  in the new constitution whereby funds allocated to local councils for grassroots development from the  federation account can be monitored. In this way, an abuse can be easily detected and the culprits brought to book.

Who Is Afraid Of Local Government Autonomy?

Who Is Afraid Of Local Government Autonomy?

The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has said the aim of the agitation for local government autonomy is to free the third tier of government from the control of state governments. The National President of NULGE, Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel said , if the autonomy is granted by the States Houses of Assembly, it will benefit not only them ,but all Nigerians.

Khaleel who led NULGE members to the Ondo House of Assembly yesterday urged members of the hallow chamber to support the passage of the bill whenever it is transmitted to them from the National Assembly.

The NULGE boss who was represented by the National Publicity Secretary of the union, Comrade Emmanuel Fashe, said granting autonomy to the local government will further strengthen democracy in the country.   According to him, “If you want to curb insecurity, we need autonomy. If we want employment for our teeming youths, vote yes to autonomy. God has placed you in this today so that your name could be among of those who voted for the freedom of local government. We want you to be part of history this time. ”
Also, the state chairperson of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Bose Daramola who presented the union letter to the House, said if true federalism should be practice in the country, there most be autonomy to the local government.   Daramola said, ” we are aware that some governors are spending the local government money, that is why they don’t want to support local government autonomy.

On Local Government Autonomy We Vote – 2019

On Local Government Autonomy We Vote – 2019

Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, weekend said that local government autonomy had not been rejected by states houses of assembly in the on-going constitution amendment process, as been speculated. NULGE said the bill on local government autonomy was still under consideration by 26 houses of assembly across the country, as only 10 houses of assembly had so far considered the bill and passed it to the Chairman of Conference of Speakers of states houses of assembly for transmission to the National Assembly.

President of NULGE Ibrahim Khaleel gave this explanation to dispel insinuation that the states houses of assembly might have rejected local government autonomy, based on the transmission of some bills considered by the states houses to the National Assembly on Thursday. He explained that the National Assembly sent 15 different bills to the states houses, incluing Local Government Autonomy Bill. Among the 10 states that had considered it, eight states: Kwara, Benue, Niger, Plateau, Bauchi, Cross River, Bayelsa and Ogun states voted for local government autonomy while only two states: Edo and Imo, rejected it.

Khaleel, who said he had sought clarification from the Chairman, Conference of Speakers and senior officials of the National Assembly, noted that Rivers and Lagos states had not even worked on the Local Government Autonomy Bill, while the remaining 24, who joined the other 10 states to transmit it to the National Assembly, said they had stepped the bill down for further consultation. According to him: “So, 24 states houses of assembly are still working on it, many of them are already holding public hearing on it. That is what is going on. For example, Sokoto State just conducted public hearing on the bill between Tuesday and Thursday this week. Gombe has just called for memorandum from its citizens on Local Government Autonomy Bill. Others also differ it to hold public hearing and for further discussions before they vote and forward it to Chairman, Conference of Speakers.