Says govs, state assemblies against it
By Moses John
The incessant agitation, youth restiveness and security challenges currently facing the nation, would be a thing of the past if the local government is granted administrative and political autonomy, National President, Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel, has said.
Khaleel spoke at a meeting of the union’s Think Tank Committee to appraise the ongoing advocacy campaign for local government autonomy.
He said the third tier of government was created to bridge the gap resulting from numerous ethnic groups in the country.
The NULGE boss declared: “The essence of local government is to bridge that gap, bring the governance to the people so that they can administer and govern themselves in the way and manner only them can understand. You can see why the agitation of minority is always coming, the problem of youths, and the problem of insecurity.
“One major problem in local government is the issue of security. Local government has a critical role to play in addressing the security challenges in this country because if you go by the enabling laws that established local government, there must be local government security committee in every local government.
“That committee is supposed to be the very first point of call whenever there are security challenges in any locality, but because of the devastated nature local governments found themselves, you can’t find any with such an important committee; that’s why security challenges are everywhere in the country today.”
On the appointment of caretaker chairmen by governors to manage the affairs of local government, Khaleel said without elections in the system, it won’t work.
“The most critical issue in local government is the democracy of local government itself. Without democratising local government, it won’t work.
That is why in the three elements we are canvassing, particularly for constitutional reforms, the issues of political democracy in local government is one of the leading issue, and we are of the opinion that the provision that provided for the establishment of the State Independent Electoral Commission must be expunged from our constitution because it is not working and is no longer useful.
“The situation whereby a governor of a state decides on his own to sit on the democratic right of citizens by way of hand-picking his rookies and stooges, and appointing them as caretakers or sole administrators or whatever name they use, sincerely, is not acceptable.
“It is the undemocratic and un-progressive posture that have been the main issues that disconnect people from the inclusive arrangement that local government was designed to achieve,” he further argued.
Continuing, the NULGE leader reiterated that “our major problem is with the state assemblies and the governors, and that was why this Think Tank was conceived as a strategy to put much activities, agitation and campaign to states and local governments.
“And as you are aware, we visited governors and state assemblies; some are against while some in support. So, this meeting will analyse the opinions of those that are against freeing local government and articulate our position in order to move ahead.”