Obasanjo

ABEOKUTA – Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has taken swipe at the 27 states that are yet to sign the Local Government Autonmony bill, describing them as enemies of the people.




Obasanjo added: “But we must say those state executives and the legislatures that have prevented the bill from being passed, they must be taken as the enemies of the people and they should be treated as such. Because if you enjoy autonomy from the Federal Government why don’t you want Local Governments to enjoy autonomy?

“Again, I will say leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) who have always fought for the interest of the people should know that the interest of the people at the local government will be best served if the LG has autonomy which is meant that they should have.”

Obasanjo spoke when a group, “Friends of Democracy” paid him a working visit in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on Monday.

The former President, whose tenure as the country’s Head of State in 1976 brought about the creation of local governments, regretted that since the National Assembly had passed the bill, nine out of the 36 States have only signed the bill by the Houses of Assembly, despite its importance to grassroots development.

In a release signed by his Media Aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, which was made available to newsmen, told his guests that the LG reform was, among other things aimed at making the local councils autonomous “like the State government”.

His words “When in 1976, we brought in Local Government Reforms, it was meant to be third tier of the government and not meant to be subjected to whims and caprices of any other government. Just the same way that the state governments are autonomous from the Federal Government.”

Obasanjo regretted that 40 years after, that aim is yet to be achieved ” Rather most of the state governments are virtually stealing local governments funds that the Federal government appropriate to them monthly “.

“Local Government is meant to be autonomous from the State Government. But from what we know, by design, most states have incapacitated the Local Governments.

“They have virtually stolen the Local Governments’ money in what they called Joint Account. They are to contribute 10 percent but they never contribute anything.”

“So, what we have across the country are Local Government Areas that have functions, but cannot perform the functions. They have staff but most of them cannot pay the staff, and we keep getting excuses upon excuses.”

“The Bill passed by the National Assembly which requires 24 State Houses of Assembly and like I am told only Nine States have signed it. I am proud of those states because they are what you will call progressive states that really believe in democracy.”

Obasanjo added: “But we must say those state executives and the legislatures that have prevented the bill from being passed, they must be taken as the enemies of the people and they should be treated as such. Because if you enjoy autonomy from the Federal Government why don’t you want Local Governments to enjoy autonomy?

“Again, I will say leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) who have always fought for the interest of the people should know that the interest of the people at the local government will be best served if the LG has autonomy which is meant that they should have.”


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