Wants SIECs, state/LG joint account abolished
By Moses John
The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), has, again, called for the abolition of State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) and the State/Local Government Joint Account, to guarantee meaningful progress and development at the grassroots.
To actualise this, NULGE has begun a nationwide rally to ensure financial and administrative autonomy of the local governments.
The rally, which was kick-started at the North-central Zone, in Lafia, Nasarawa state, would continue in other geo-political zones to aggressively sensitise Nigerians to support the freedom of local government.
National President of NULGE, Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel, while addressing members at the Lafia City Stadium, said “our resolve to hold this rally is due to the overbearing control and encroachment of the local governments by the 36 governors in the country.”
Khaleel stressed that as employees in the local government system, they remained the most dependable voice “from which Nigerians will measure the true situation of governance at the local government level.”
He said the union had effectively mobilised its members from Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau and the Federal Capital Territory, for what it tagged: “The mother of all rallies,” to kick start the protest rally, which will subsequently move to the South-west and other geo-political zones in the next one month.
The NULGE boss said the broad incentive for the campaign for autonomy, revolves basically around issues of development and its absence at the local level, adding that the campaign would hold in cities across the six geo-political zones of the country and the FCT.
While seeking the political, financial and administrative autonomy of local government areas, NULGE also demanded for the abolition of State/LGA joint account; payment of 10%
internally generated revenue by state governments to local government and stoppage of the deduction from local government’s federal revenue allocation by State governments.
He said: “Comrades, recognising that our political elite across parties, have chosen to undermine the logic of the local government system by taking advantage of some contradictions in the framing of the 1999 Constitution as regards the status of the local government vis-à-vis the state, our leadership decided early in the life of our administration to carry out a concerted campaign across the country for a constitutional amendment which in the end will legally put local government councils in the proper framework to deliver on its objectives.
“It is our belief that the success of this campaign will not only assist to free resources for the development of the countryside and the provision of the much-needed amenities at the clan and district levels of our communities, it will also rescue our political elite from
themselves – from their penchant of taking and diverting funds from local government accounts, that is not meant for them.
“You all must have witnessed the levels of instability in the administration of the local government system in the country. Local government administrations are either not allowed to function as state governments starve them through the operation of state-local government joint account; or they are prematurely terminated or dissolved and caretaker committees set up, made up of political cronies and rookies.”