The National President of Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Comrade Ibrahim Khaheel has posited that granting local government autonomy will aid good governance in the country.
He said this at a one-day dialogue aimed at galvanising the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the media in the South-West region of Nigeria to work with NULGE and other citizen groups to ensure the passage of local government autonomy bill in the amendment of the 1999 constitution.
The dialogue which took place in Akure Ondo state capital was organised by DFID’s Partnerships to Engage, Reform & Learn (PERL) / Engaged Citizen Partnership (ECP) and attended by top rights activists and senior journalists in the region.
The NULGE President told the gathering that if passed into law, the local government autonomy bill will deepen democracy, aid good governance and benefit the citizens, particularly in the grassroots.
Khahell also said that the autonomy for local government would curtail the major security challenges in the country. He charged the entire citizens and all stakeholders to ensure that the State Houses of Assembly in the South West pass the bill.
He commended the Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and the Osun State House of Assembly for the passage of the local government autonomy bill in the state.
KhaheeI explained that autonomy for the local government is not an aberration to true federalism. He said the autonomy would enable local government to fully play its role as third tear of government.
Earlier, the coordinator of Friends of Democracy, Mr John Mutu highlighted the progress in the struggle to actualise the passage of the local government autonomy bill and appealed to stakeholders to step up the efforts by employing necessary workable mechanism.
Mutu expressed worry that majority of the State Houses of Assembly in the South-West stepped down the local government autonomy bill when they voted on the bills transmitted to them by the National Assembly.
Also speaking, the National Coordinator of Committee for Democracy and Rights of the People (CDRP) Comrade Amitolu Shitu who spoke on behalf of other right activists said the autonomy for the local government has become imperative and charged members of the Houses of Assembly in the South-West to be brave and pass the bill.
The NULGE President and all the participants paid an advocacy visit to the traditional ruler of Akure kingdom, Oba Ogunlade Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi to solicit his support for the actualization of autonomy for local government.
Oba Aladelusi pledged total support for the struggle to achieve the autonomy for the local government and cautioned governors in the South-West to desist from spoon-feeding the members of State Houses of Assembly in their respective state, allow the legislators to think and act in line with the wish and will of the people that elected them.
Khaheel also led the stakeholders to the Ondo State House of Assembly and on another advocacy visit to the legislators in the state.
The Deputy Speaker, Honourable Iroju Ogundeji and some principal officer of the House received the NULGE President and his team on behalf of the Speaker of the House, Honourable Oloyeloogun Bamidele David and the entire members of the House.
Ogundeji said the members of the Ondo State House of Assembly were not oblivious of the enormous benefits of local government autonomy and assured that the House would hold public hearing, gather the opinion of the people and take decision based on the general consensus.
At the end of the dialogue, the participants vowed to return to the various states with renewed vigour to push hard by mobilizing the citizens and engage the legislators constructively to ensure the passage of the local government autonomy bill.
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (local news)