PDP, APC lawmakers disagree over LG autonomy

By Rotimi Ojomoyela
Ado Ekiti

As the review of the 1999 constitution goes through state Houses of Assembly across the country, the factional Ekiti state House of Assembly yesterday turned down autonomy for the local governments in Nigeria.
However, the All Progressives Congress lawmakers, in their plenary at a secret location a week ago, had voted in favour of  local government autonomy and constitutional amendment, giving autonomy to the House of Assembly.

At the plenary of the PDP factional Assembly, the Leader of the Government Business, Mr. Samuel Ajibola (Ekiti East 11), who briefed newsmen, said they voted against absolute autonomy for LGs in order to prevent abuse of such power.
“It is not too advisable for local governments to have absolute autonomy in all ramifications without being checkmated by relevant authorities in their respective states.
“If LGs are not being checkmated, especially in area of management of their finances by the governors or the state assembly, it might lead to abuse of the opportunity,” Ajibola said.

According to him, Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended gives recognition to the third tiers of government and the same Constitution also gives power for the state assembly to checkmate them.
The assembly also wanted the name of the “Nigerian Police Force” changed to only “Nigerian Police”, saying that the fact that force had been added to their name may not make them to be civil in the execution of their duties.
Right to Health, Right to Education, Financial Independence of the Arms of Government and Pension for Life got “Yes” vote.
The assembly voted “No” to scrapping of State Independent Electoral Commission, separation of office of Attorney-General from Minister of Justice and Independent Candidacy, among others.
The House also committed the state’s 2015 budget of over N80 billion to Committee of Finance and Appropriation for legislative scrutiny after it passed through second reading.
Governor Ayo Fayose had presented the 2015 budget to the state House of Assembly on Monday.