The demand for local government autonomy and accountability has metamorphosed into a national call as government agencies, such as; Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, Association of Local Government In Nigeria, National Union of Road Transport Workers, Nigeria Financial Intelligence, market women, youth groups, students and community groups and CSOs all convened at the Unity Fountain in Abuja to issue a communique signed by these groups demanding for autonomy and accountability in the LGAs.
Reading the communique, during the gathering, Comrade Akeem Ambali, the National President of NULGE, noted the discussions and challenges identified during the National Dialogue held on the 1st of December, 2021 at Abuja. The lack of autonomy by the LGAs and concentration of so much power on the state government has crippled the efficiency of the LGAs. The communique raised cogent issues which, if not addressed, may continue to hinder development in the LGAs. The demands as collectively agreed on include the dissolution of joint state and local government accounts and the remittance of LGs allocation to a dedicated account for the Local Government and to stop states from making laws for the LGAs. others are to encourage citizens involvement in serving as watchdogs to curb the excesses of the local government while demanding transparency, accountability of financial transactions and access to their financial records. The communique also demanded that local government elections be conducted by INEC in place of the State Independent Electoral Commission.
Speaking on behalf of Social Action, Prince Ekpere buttressed the fact that the call for local government autonomy is as old as the local government itself and that more Nigerians live in villages and communities and as such, the Local Government is supposed to respond to infrastructural and human capital development at the local level but this is not the case. The Programs Coordinator of Social Action, Botti Isaac also corroborated Ekpere’s assertion and expounded further that any constitutional process that does not take into consideration the autonomy of the local government in Nigeria is a fraud. Comrade Botti expressed the fact that the government should grant autonomy to the local government and cut the excess of the state governors. This is not the time to keep quiet, grassroots development is important as our people need to enjoy the dividends of democracy, he concluded.
The coalition of the several groups represented at the rally further took on the march to the office of the Speaker and Clerk of the Nigeria National Assembly, the office of Nigeria Governor’s Forum and Office of the Conference of All Speakers, where signed copies of the communique were received by these offices. The various offices expressed their delight to receive representatives from NULGE and Social Action and a successful deliberation ensued.
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