By: Ifeanyi Okonkwo (Anambra),
The Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Anambra State Chapter, Comrade Jerry Nnubia has urged members of the Anambra State House of Assembly to among other request of amending the 1999 Constitution, vote “YES” in favour of Local Government Autonomy.Comrade Jerry Nnubia, who spoke to journalists after attending the Anambra State House of Assembly sitting on Tuesday, explained that local government autonomy would allow many young politicians to start their ambitions from the grass root and learn the process of law-making gradually.
Comrade Jerry Nnubia said, “We need to open up space at the grass root level were our youths can participate. The rush of everybody wanting to be at the National Assembly, House of Representatives and even Governorship will reduce drastically if this bill is passed”.
Adding that, “Local Government (LG) is where you train the youths. In those days, before one comes to the House of Representatives, the person might have passed through the process of being a Councilor before even advancing to the Local Government Chairmanship seat, by then you would have known how to pass by-laws. So, it becomes a training ground. Local Government is the closest to the people and government is all about inclusiveness and allowing people to participate”.
“The state must not do everything. This is why we are clamouring for the independence of the local government. Almost everybody wants autonomy for local governments. These are the people representing us and the National Assembly has done the needful by sending it down to the state level and I don’t think anything can stop it”.
“It is at the Federal and State level that people hi-jack public funds, it does not work that way at the local government level”
“If the people you are representing say this is what we want, are you not representing them, why not listen to them? Comrade Jerry Nnubia, asked”.
While fielding questions from journalists, the majority leader Hon. Victor Jidefor Okeye representing Anambra West said, “I have attended 3 seminars based on these amendments. We have encountered so many difficulties in the issue of local government and state autonomy. We once resolved an issue on local government teachers, both secondary and primary agitating whether salaries will be paid by either state or not but, we took the first line charge option to handle the issue”.
“There has been lobbying from different interest groups, and members of the community. All these are some of the reasons we need to balance it because, this is not a decision that requires rush”.
“Some of the members want it to be passed while some don’t. That is why we decided to step it down so that we can go back and make consultations from the people that voted us in power.
“If possible, we will make consultations and public hearing because, when controversial issues like this comes up, the best thing is to give it time so that people can understand it better and contribute.
“Whether we pass it or not, we would not want to offend Peter and please Paul, we still have from now till early February to complete our findings”, he concluded.