The Anambra chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in their huge numbers stormed the State House of Assembly Awka, on Tuesday 6th February in protest, over the delay of the Honorable Members to vote a total yes to Local Government Autonomy.
Members of the NLC have wondered why the House would pass other amendments sent to the House but have refuse to accent to the two Bills that relate to Local Government Autonomy in the state.
Elder Okafor Eloka, Anambra state convener, Civil Society Labour Media Alliance, told news men that, “The essence of this protest rally is very simple. The Civil Society, Labour Union Alliance is demanding that Anambra State House of Assembly should approve Local Government Autonomy without delay”.
“We observed that out of fifteen amendments been passed last week by the Honorable Members, they approved all except the two bills that had to do with local government autonomy. They stepped it down in other to make consultations according to them, and probably public hearing and we consider this move to be very suspicious because, if out of fifteen, they approved even Legislative Autonomy, I see no reason why they should step down local government autonomy that directly affects the people that voted them in”.
“It has become a tradition in this country that whatever affects the common man is not taken serious. We are tired and enough is enough!
“We are also sending a message to other Houses of Assembly Members in the South East that, people are now awake, we are no longer sleeping.
“We have our P.V.Cs and thank God that this year is a year for preparations with respect to 2019 elections and we are going to vote in the general election with regards to Local Government Autonomy in Anambra, the South East and the entire country”.
“We are watching them and we will continue to watch them. Our red cards are handy and at the appropriate time, we are going to make a very loud statement”. Elder Okafor stated.
However, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Harford Ikechukwu Osseke, representing Awka South 2, while addressing the angry crowd, assured the Union members that their demand(s) will soon be met.
In his words, “Let me assure you all that in no distance time, the public hearing concerning the two bills will take place and it will be announced”.
“We have voted in your favour before and this time, it will not be different. We stepped it down so that we will do proper consultation and know the reaction of other members. Let us not forget that it requires two-third of the votes”.
In a reaction to the assurances given by Deputy Speaker, Elder Okafor Eloka said, “The responses have been fundamentally the same. We are no longer interested in such responses. What will interest us now are results and actions. If it did not take them anything to approve for themselves to be financially independent, why should it take this long to approve L.G. autonomy”.
“We are not satisfied with what they say and we are not stopping here. This is just the beginning”. While we observe and watch the proceedings, we might come here and occupy this complex until they approve the local government autonomy, if not, we will not leave”. Elder Okafor stated.