NLC, NULGE to engage governors on LG autonomy

The President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba. PHOTO: NAN

• Reject Immunity For Lawmakers

Plans are underway by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) to engage state governors and the Nigeria Governors Forum to ensure that state Houses of Assembly approve autonomy to local government in the country.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, speaking in Abuja on the inclusion of autonomy for local government councils in the proposed amendment to the constitution, lauded the leaderships of both chambers of the National Assembly for listening to the yearnings of Nigerians.

He, however, said the labour movement remained opposed to granting immunity to lawmakers outside of the present immunity granted them to carry out their oversight responsibilities.

Wabba stated that the labour appreciates the level of work needed to be done before the Bill can sail through the state assemblies, adding: “There are plans to engage our governors with a view to getting their buy-in into the Bill.

“We are going to engage them both individually and collective at the Governors Forum level. We are optimistic that the governors are also desirous of seeing development taking root at the local government level, which can only be guaranteed by efficient local government administration.”

He said the labour believes that if passed into law, the amendments would free the local governments from the stranglehold of state governments, widen the democratic space and restore the lost glory of local governments.

“Until progressive decline and bastardisation set in, the local government represented the centre of administrative excellence, clinical efficiency, training, education, development, tax administration and effective commodity boards.

“Local governments also represented maintenance culture of infrastructure, including roads, environmental sanitation, functional health facilities, low incidences of corruption and violent crimes.

“The singular reason for this magical performance was that local governments were close to the people and ministered to their needs,” he recalled.

Wabba insisted that autonomy of local government would ensure that the local government system develops as a third tier of government with the capacity to discharge its constitutional responsibilities to its constituents; strengthen democratic decentralisation of power and put power back in the hands of the citizenry at the grassroots level of governance; give a voice to the voiceless, especially the minorities who have been short-changed at the state and federal levels of government; make local governments training ground for leadership at state and federal levels of power; deliver development to about 180million Nigerians; stem rural-urban migration; lower crime rate; and quicken payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities.

He urged members of the 36 state Assemblies to be on the side of the people and history by displaying the courage of the colleagues at the National Assembly by giving their unqualified support to the autonomy of local government councils in the country.

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