By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja.
The National leadership of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employers (NULGE) has canvassed for full autonomy for Local Government as the third tier of government with full autonomy separate from the state.
National leadership of NULGE, in a paper presented to the National Conference “Committee on Political Restructuring and Forms of Government by the union’s National Deputy President, Comrade Lucky Gospel Ewa, explained to the committee on the need to grant autonomy to local governments in the country in order for them to perform it’s constitutional duty.
The Deputy President alleged that state governors have reduced them to mere administrative units.
He went on to say that Nigerians from all works of lives have unanimously rejected removal of the local government as a tier of government rather it’s autonomy which should be guaranteed in the Constitution was demanded.
He expressed dissatisfaction with a situation whereby the governors have suddenly become economic buccaneers in handling local government funds.
In his words,”between May 1999 to May 2003, #750 billion said to have been released to local government, only #69.9 billion got to the local government. Through the state/local government Joint Allocation Account Committee (JAAC) state governors hijacked the remaining balance” the South South born unionist said.
Ewa maintained that the union is worried that the unequivocal position of Nigerians on what the statues of local government should be is being threatened at the National Conference.
“Nigeria, at this point of our national life needs this council that will act as a catalyst for development and strengthening of our democracy.
He however, frowned at the way and manner the governor are running the local government without due recourse to democratic principles.
He said” as practitioners of the local government system, we want to caution that, no matter the driving force behind the intention to abolish local government as a tier of government and remove the guarantee of its autonomy from the constitution, be it economic or political or both as we understand it be, the union wishes to reiterate its recommendation that the system of local government by democratically elected government council should be guarantee by the constitution.
He reminded the committee members on the strategic roles play by local government to national development, saying that it will curb the problems of poverty and unemployment which he said is the key factors to our security challenges in this country.