Nine state assemblies support LG autonomy – NULGE

The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) said only nine states have so far voted in support of Local Government autonomy in the ongoing effort to amend the constitution.

The National President of the Union, Ibrahim Khaleel, who made this known at a press conference Wednesday in Abuja said two states out-rightly rejected the bill.

Mr. Khaleel called for the abolition of State Independent Electoral Commission, adding that the existence of the commission has made democracy at the local government level a mockery.

Mr. Khaleel said Kwara, Benue, Niger, Plateau, Bauchi, Cross River, Bayelsa, Ogun and Ondo are the states which have endorsed the local government autonomy bill, while Edo and Imo rejected it outright.

While accusing governors of the two states and their party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) of influencing the State Houses of Assembly to reject the bill, he said governors of the North-western states also influenced their state assemblies to defer its consideration.

He urged the states to approve the bill in the interest of Nigerians.

He said the union was not asking legislators to automatically endorse the bill, but to conduct public hearing as agreed by the Speakers Forum and the Governors Forum.

“I want to call on our governors to, as a matter of respect for Nigerian citizens who have spoken and aspiring to have a local government system they can call their own, that will be free for them to participate democratically by electing their Chairmen and Councillors as and when due without undue influence from the government of the state.

“The governors should begin to have some level of decorum in their approach to governance. Look at the shame brought to bear on our democracy by the election in Kano where underaged were the ones that mostly voted.

“These are some of the issues that we have been trying to make Nigerians understand. That is not only in the area of democracy.

“The idea behind establishing local government is by way of bringing governance closer to the people and providing a platform for everybody to participate at his own community level.

“But the governors have hijacked this tier of government for their own advantage. This is why we are doggedly following this issue and we are not happy with most of the governors that are foot-dragging on this issue. If you look at the governors from the North-western states, they are foot-dragging,” Mr. Khaleel said. ( Premium Times)

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