From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said the issue of local government autonomy is not for the National Assembly to address.
He said since the process of constitution amendment was ongoing and the areas of possible amendments thrown open, it was for Nigerians to decide whether to have local government autonomy or not.
“We did it the last time but when we went back to the states, we could not get the required two-thirds. So it is a process and we have followed the process.
“While we were working on constitutional amendment, two-thirds of the states did not agree with us. So it is certain that it is the people that will decide whether they want autonomy for local government or not,” he said.
The speaker, however, said as responsible lawmakers in the ninth Assembly, they would continue to do all that was in the overall interest of Nigerians.
Gbajabiamila expressed confidence that at the end of the training, the councillors would have received a lot of education on leadership.
He said while some people were born leaders, others acquired leadership, adding, however, that either way, there was the need to go through training to be able to garner necessary experience.
The speaker urged participants to put the leadership qualities they might have acquired from the training to use to maximise their potentials.
According to him, the best place to start exhibiting such potentials is the local government, as that is the bedrock of democracy and the closest to the grassroots.
“It is important to know what it takes to have followers. As leaders, you must understand that you have followers and you have to deal with them on the issues of governance,” he said.
He spoke at a two-day leadership capacity training, organised by the Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu for newly elected local government chairmen and councilors from Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency of Delta State. in Abuja, yesterday.
In his contribution, Senate Minority Leader, Enyinna Abaribe, said wrong choice of leaders is pushing the country to the precipice.
He urged Nigerians to appeal to the President Muhammadu-led Federal Government to pull the country back from the brinks by doing the the right thing.
He accused the the Federal Government of appointing people into sensitive positions, based on where they are from and not the content of their character.
“What we are looking for in Nigeria is an assessment of people not by where they come from, not by whether they are Fulani or not but if they have the character to be part of Nigeria and I think that’s where the real problem of Nigeria is situated, because we have made choices and those choices have not been made on the basis of people being the correct people to do one or the other thing.
“We have made choices on the basis of where you come from and this particular government has been most egregious in making these wrong choices and that’s why it is leading us to the precipice today.
“All we are asking Nigerians to do is to beg this government of APC to help us step back from the brink because as much as we continue to say that what they are doing is not right, they continue to do it with impunity.”
Elumelu said the capacity building programme is in line with the Legislative Agenda of the ninth House, which talks about human capital development.
The minority leader expressed confidence that the programmes will equip the newly elected council officials in the discharge of their duties as leaders.