The National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has blamed rising insecurity in the country to the total collapse of council system of government.
The union’s president, Olatunji Ambali, who stated this in Abuja, said the solution to insecurity is for there to be a functional local government system.
His words: “It is a thing of concern that local councils have been violated by state governors unabated and this has led to total collapse. The local government administration has witnessed systematic destruction as a result of misrule. We have continued to witness the misappropriation of local government funds, which has militated against progressive development at the grassroots. No wonder, as of today, insecurity has taken over the land. There is little development because development is not inclusive. It cannot be inclusive in our country as the tools needed to aid it at the grassroots are dysfunctional. We have acute unemployment that is resonating at the national level because the base of development has been destroyed.”
While saying that development and security are local, Ambali accused state governors of relying on the lacuna in 1999 Constitution to violate local government councils.
“Money that is meant for the development at the grassroots levels is continually diverted looted by the state governors. The governors can do that because a lacuna exists in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria. Section 162 that created local government administration makes provision for a joint allocation committee through which money meant for the development of basic infrastructure is siphoned by the state governors. There is another provision that guarantees democratically elected government at the local government level however, the same provision also says that the state House of Assembly shall legislate over the structure and funding of local government administration. State governors hide under these sections perpetrate atrocities against the Councils that should be the engine room of development.”
He insisted that finding solutions to challenges confronting Nigeria will be a difficult task until the local government system is fixed.
He said: “We say it is time to fix Nigeria. It is time to fix the local government. When the local system is fixed, Nigeria will be fixed. We cannot fix Nigeria without fixing the Councils. Over 80 per cent of challenges confronting Nigeria today are traceable to the collapse of the local government system. Once we can achieve local government autonomy, all the problems manifesting today shall seize automatically.”
The NULGE chief maintained that to guarantee the emergence of credible and effective governance at the grassroots, the election into office at that level must be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), saying, “the charade that happens in the local government election perpetuated by the state governor is not acceptable to Nigerians as the elections are not credible or transparent at that level.
“The appointment and promotion of surrogates and political jobbers to man leadership positions in local government councils are no longer acceptable. We want a transparent process. The beauty of democracy will emerge at the local government level when INEC is empowered to conduct the election.”
He urged the Federal Government to remit the funds of local government councils directly to them to allow political leaders to deliver dividends of democracy to rural Nigerians who form the majority of the population.
On his part, the Executive Chairman, Municipal Area Council, Abuja, Abdullahi Adamu, who lamented absenteeism among staff, described the workforce as the pillars of the council.
The Guardian News
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