By: Valentine Adese,
More voices have joined the call for State Houses of Assembly in the federation, to vote in support of the Local Government Autonomy Bills before them in order to bring back good governance to the people at the third tire of government in the country.
|HRM DEJI OF AKURE|
The Deji of Akure, His Royal Majesty (HRM), Kabiyesi, Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade, the Odundu II, while joining the call for LG autonomy said, Local Government (LG) takes care of its people and that any country that does not practice a government that takes care of its people, such country cannot grow.
The Deji, expressed his deep heart feelings, when he hosted the “Friends of Democracy”, the National Union Of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) (from within and outside Ondo state), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the Media in his Kingdom, at the famous Afunbiowo Hall, built by late Oba Afunbiowo Adesida I, over Hundreds of years ago.
The Oba said, “In Nigeria, we have three tiers of government and only two are operating without the third. How can it work and get expected results?”
Adding that, “At present, at the LG Councils, we have appointees there yet, they call it third tier. Is that good?
According to HRM, the problem is not with the Governors but, with the Legislators.
“The problem is not the governors but, the State Houses of Assembly. How can the governors be remote controlling them? They National Assembly (NASS) did not send the bills to be amended to the governors but, to the members of the Houses of Assemblies!
“All they need to do is to go back to their constituencies and seek their responses or call for a referendum if that fails.
“I am aware that the president is in support of the autonomy, so it would have aided them to make their voices known.
“These lawmakers should do the needful and go back to their people, who would bring them back. They should know that the governors are also under this same people!
“I am 100% in support of LG autonomy. I will pursue the course here in Akure even under a referendum and the proponents would get the votes.
“For me I suspect the members of the Houses of Assembly that they might have made up their minds.
“Funnily, the governors in the country are removing and replacing Caretaker Committees but, if President Buhari removes them today, you would see them rushing to court.”
For the Ondo State House of Assembly (ODHA), the CSOs, NGOs, NULGE and Friends of Democracy, were told that the call for autonomy at the LG levels is not different from their quest for Financial Autonomy for state Houses of Assemblies.
Speaking on behalf of the House, during the courtesy visit of the groups to the House Complex and to the Speaker of the Assembly, the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ireju Ogundeji, promised that the House will soon call for a public hearing of the bill and that the people should expect positive responses and actions from the state Lawmakers.
Rt. Hon. Ogundeji said, “We shall organize a public hearing and all stakeholders would have to address us and the needful would be done. We want to use this opportunity to alley your fears!
“However, we will follow where Nigerians are going. We shall by the grace of God come back to celebrate.”
“We will however, added, that you take this campaign to the Governors’ forum. We feel your pains and needs because we are also suffering the same issues as Lawmakers and Houses of Assemblies.
“Just look at the way the complex buildings and it accessories are dilapidating? Is this what you expect to see? It speaks for itself and us!
You would recall that REALITY had reported that the quest for Local Government Autonomy in Nigeria has taken a new shape, as the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and other Non-governmental Organizations operating in the six (6) states in the South-west zone of Nigeria, had declared to mobilize electorates not to vote in any forthcoming elections, if the Houses of Assemblies in that zone did not vote in support of Local Government Autonomy.
This declaration of “No-Atonomy-No-Vote” was made after a Media and Civil Society Technical Session on Constitutional Amendment Review, organized by Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), at Heritage Continental Hotel, Akure, Ondo state, Nigeria.
The National President of NULGE, Comrade Ibrahim Kaleel, who led the press briefing team after the technical session and flanked by other leaders of NGOs, and CSOs said, “We call on the six (6) Houses of Assemblies in the South-west zone, to pass the Local government Autonomy without delay!
“We are aware that some of the Houses have stepped it down for the purpose of conducting public hearing but, they must vote in favour of it.”
According to Comrade Ibrahim, no country runs a federal system like it is been ran in Nigeria.
He said, “It is sad that the quest for local government autonomy has been a recurrent decimal in this country that the people have to continue demanding for same since 1960s.
“We only had vibrant local government authorities in the country in 1999, when the Independent National Electoral Commission conducted elections to fill vacant political offices at that level.
“You would also recall that in 2012 when the then President Olusegun Obasanjo came with the move to reassess the three levels of governance in the country, with the team led by Prof. Jerry Gana, it was reported that the performances of the local governments then was far better that the 36 states put together.
“But today, because of lack of autonomy, LGs like Kanduga has fallen not only to poverty but to Boko Haram. If you know Kanduga before in Borno state, it was known as a local government of peace and people always want to spend their retirement years there.