From Tope Musowo, Ado-Ekiti
The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Ondo state chapter, has called on the Federal Government to ensure that the clause in bill on the amendment to the 1999 Constitution, granting autonomy to local government administration in the country, be passed by the various Houses of Assembly.
The union expressed fears at a press conference on Wednesday, in Akure, that some state governors had continued to fiddle with the resources meant for the local governments and, as such, would be reluctant to support the councils’ autonomy.
State Chairman of the union, Dr. Bunmi Eniayewu, said no governor should ordinarily stand against local government autonomy if they expect the local government system to play its constitutional role in the county.
He praised the National Assembly for taking the step, which saw the LG autonomy clause passed by both chambers of the federal legislature.
He said some of the factors standing against the independence of the local government included the lack of financial independence, lack of a democratically elected local government officials and the great interference of some state governors.
According to him, these problems have led to the overall ineffectiveness of the local government system, adding that the state governors see local governments as their government annexes.
Eniayewu said, “In some states today, there have not been local government elections ever since democratic experience in 1999, such that what we have is a system of appointing committees to administer and run the local governments.
“This, of course, is not what is contemplated by the constitution. Apart from this, even in states, where elections have been held, there is a lack of access to funds to execute projects that will impact on the people at the grassroots. It is when the people participate in the elections that they can hold the elected responsible.
“It is therefore essential that Nigeria develops a new system that guarantees, in clear terms, through the instrumentality of the constitution, the autonomy of local government in Nigeria so as to aid greater development and benefits to the rural populace.”