Sola Ojo, Kaduna
The electorate in Kaduna State have agreed to use the much-anticipated local government autonomy as part of agenda for any political candidate that demands their votes in 2019.
They believed that the local government, which has over the years suffered lack of autonomy due to refusal of two-third of states assemblies to vote in its favour, is the closest tier of government to the grassroots.
They, therefore, are making it campaign agenda for politicians seeking their vote during 2019 general elections in the state.
This position was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a one-day town hall meeting on local government autonomy in Kaduna State facilitated by engaged citizens pillar of Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (ECP-PERL) held at a hotel in Kaduna.
Signed by representatives of NULGE, Comrade Terry Henry Isaac, Concerned Civil Society, Bonet Emmanuel and the NLC, Comrade Shehu Usman Salihu, the communiqué noted that, the local government autonomy will reduce ever increased attention on state government and make it possible for citizens to engage government at local level.
The communiqué read in part, “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigerian 1999 is the basic law upon which other laws and subsidiary legislations are based.
“The Constitution formulates the legal framework for the priorities and distribution of resources to which the people can have access.
“It is therefore important for citizens to participate in the making and review of constitution. The participation of citizens in the process makes it citizens oriented.
“Hence, the round-table was to galvanise organised labour, CSOs and media in Kaduna State in the North West geopolitical zone to sustain the momentum around the issue of local government autonomy and push for the passage of the bill at the state level leveraging on the current constitution review process.
“Local government autonomy would expand and strengthen the democratic space for more citizens participation and inclusion at the local level.
“It is imperative to make it an agenda for candidates as we go into another round of elections.
“It will reduce the burden and demand on the state government, as citizens would directly engage governance at the local level.
“It will minimise the challenge of rural urban migration and reduce the pressure on infrastructure and other social amenities in the urban centres.
“It would expand the leadership recruitment space and serve as entry point for increased citizens participation in politics at the grassroots.
READ ALSO: 1972: Olympic hostages killed in gun battle
“Due to increase economic activities and employment generation, it would reduce insecurity and restiveness as youth would b
e engaged effectively as well as their interest in local governance and promote open governance, which will ensure the council become more transparent, accountable and responsive.”