NLC, NULGE to intensify campaign for councils’ autonomy
Speaking at a roundtable discussion on the plight of local government administration, Presidents of NLC, Ayuba Wabba and that of NULGE, Ibrahim Khaleel said relevant arms of government would be engaged with a view to strengthening the logic for local government autonomy.
Local government autonomy is still a thorny issue in the effort by the National Assembly to amend the constitution to guarantee their self-administration.
Wabba enjoined NULGE to be steadfast in the struggle while restating the institutional and logistics support of the labour central body for the attainment of the objectives of the struggle.
His words: “I want to assure you that NLC will fully support and canvass for local government autonomy. Local government must be allowed to use their funds. I want to urge you to continue the struggle. The local government must be liberated. The issue of joint account should be looked into. I don’t believe the joint account has served the purpose for which it was intended to achieve. If we all believe that the majority of our people live in local government areas, then that is where development is needed most. So, we will continue to canvas for autonomy. I am also happy that the current National Assembly, with some of their utterances and dispositions, we can also say we can have an ally in the area of strengthening local government administration and also canvassing for autonomy for local government.”
The NLC Chief noted that NULGE has started an initiative that will bring development closer to the people, saying, “in the old good days when our local government system was very functional and effective, the issue of security, agriculture, the issue of providing jobs for the teeming youth were actually being addressed at that time. Therefore, we must return to the basis if we want to address the challenge in our economy, our polity or even in our social life.”
While decrying the growing unemployment rate in the country, Wabba note that a bottom-up agricultural system approach, which is rooted at the local government level, could generate massive employment opportunities especially for young people and women.
In his presentation, NULGE President, Khaleel insisted that autonomy for local government system is not negotiable and called for support from all stakeholders to ensure that local government administration is removed from the shackles of state government control.
He explained that stronger financial autonomy for local government would help strengthen its activities while hinted that the union is working assiduously to ensure that the constitutional reforms of local government is formulated and updated.
This, he said has prompted a need to engage the Federal Government to ensure a democratic government at local government level that would address the yearning of majority of people living in local government in the country.