By Henry Uche, Lagos
The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has called on the National Assembly to conscientiously and urgently stop the move made by some members of the federal House Of Representatives to scrape the Local Government Area as the third tier of government.
NULGE President-elect Amboli Olatunji, who spoke in AIT on “Elected Council vs Caretaker Committee”, decried the actions of some state governors in local government affairs of their States describing such as unfortunate and anti-people.
Olatunji called for an amendment of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria (as amended) to fix the gaps and other provisions which has remained a bane to local government progress over the years. He sort for direct lodgement of local government funds into the local government account and the establishment of local government police which in his view would serve better instead of the much-agitated state police.
‘We need an urgent and thorough amendment of the 1999 constitution where all the contradiction and inadequacies would be removed. Let all local government fund go straight to the local government account. The issue of Joint Account Allocation Committee (what I call joint fraud) must be deleted. More so we need local government police, not state police and democratically elected local government leaders for the effective representation of the people not handpicked representatives. We must remember that we all will come back to the same local government community we treated unfairly after all said and done. All these and more must, as a matter of fact, be addressed else we will continue to have problems at the local government level,’ he said.
He charged local government council representatives to secure a developed local government area for sustainable economic growth, saying that NULGE would continue to press forward to political, economic and administrative autonomy with the aim of stopping the arbitrary actions of some State governors which he described as obnoxious and precarious to the economic development of the local government area over the years.
‘All these problems would not have risen but due to ambiguity and contradictions of the 1999 constitution. It’s an aberration to have an election (what we at NULGE calls selection) or anointment of the coronation of cronies at the detriment of a democratic and governance norms.
‘For us, we are against the caretaker Committee because they don’t have the mandate of the people at the grassroots. Moreover, Caretaker Committee representation is against the constitution and democratic tenets, but due to greed, some political elites and governance have hijacked the local resources at the peril of the people. We must know that the problem of the local government is the problem of the federal government too.
‘When the foundation is shattered, nothing can be built on it. As you can see the caretaker Committee has no power to do anything because they are all handpicked and until we allow democratically elected officials to have their way, things would continue to deteriorate in all facet. The well-being of the people at the grassroots determine the success or otherwise of any government. We must continue to carry out our Campaign against the actions of some State governors bedevilling the progress of the local government areas,’ he stated.
He added that for banditry, kidnapping and other security threats to be a thing of the past, the complete autonomy of the third tier of government must be guaranteed, and not until all the affairs of the local government Area Council is taken seriously with necessary actions, Nigeria would still not get it right.