By: Valentine Adese,
Members of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Plateau State chapter, particularly its Plateau State President, Comrade, M. Samson, have been commended for the feat they have achieved, by creating the right awareness and mobilization that has made the Plateau state House of Assembly (PLHA) to say “Yes”, to Local Government Autonomy in the country.The House (PLHA), during its sitting today, also said “Yes” to sixteen items among which is the “Not too Young to Run” and “Immunity for Legislators for acts in the course of duty.”
You would recall that the National Assemblies (NASS) in December 2016, constituted Ad-Hoc Committees on Constitution Review to initiate the process of amending relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) based on the wishes and aspirations, of various stakeholders and their representatives.
After due consultations, the NASS Committees decided to limit their focus to the issues contained in the 4th alteration that was passed by the NASS and the State Houses of Assembly (SHoAs) but not assented by President Goodluck Jonathan, over some items he had reservations with.
President Jonathan had then questioned the process adopted by the NASS which he felt did not meet the requirement of section 9 (2) of the Constitution.
You would recall that, the issue of Local Government amendment seeks to annul the State Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) and empower each Local Government Council (LGC) to maintain its own special account through which their funds will be paid directly from the federation account.
The bill intends to strengthen primary education through improved funding (joint contribution from the State and LGC). This is a very important amendment in the on-going exercise. This amendment if approved makes sure that the government closest to the people is in charge of its resources.
More also, the Local Government amendment, seeks to provide some framework and standard of LGA administration across the country. It provides a uniform tenure of 3 years for Local Government Councils and empowers the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) to remit Local Government Area (LGA) allocations only to LGAs with democratically elected officials. In the long-run, this will entrench accountability, transparency, and responsiveness at the local level since citizens at those levels will be better positioned to demand for these among others.