By: Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
Ogun State Local Government workers under the aegis of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) on Monday staged a peaceful protest proposing for the local government autonomy.
The workers who converged at the State Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ), Abeokuta, at about 7:00am, demanded for the direct allocation of funds from the federal government to the local government’s covers.
The workers armed with placards with the inscription: “On local government autonomy, we stand”,”On autonomy we stand, Ogun civil servants”
Government, local government autonomy Dole…”, also chanted solidarity songs as they move to the State House of Assembly.
Addressing journalists at the secretariat the President of NULGE Comrade Ayuba Olatunji who spoke in company of the state NLC chairman, Akeen Ambali said it was high time the local governments in the state begin to enjoy their own autonomy.
Olatunji, who said that the body had been struggling for the past four years on the local government autonomy noted that the call was imperative so that the local council could start living up to their responsibilities in grassroot areas.
He said, “We converge here today for the purpose of getting local government autonomy. Local government autonomy is a must that we should get . NULGE has been on this struggle for more than 2 to 3, 4 years.
“What we are proposing is that for stability and viability of the local government, the fund must be allocated and go directly to the local government so that it can be put back on the functions it has been doing in the past.”
The NULGE Boss stated that local governments under the administration of the Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo were performing better because they were receiving their allocation directly from the federal government.
He said, ” Let me take you back a little bit, before 1999 when the local government was taking their allocation directly from the federal account, you will see local government performing wonders, you will see the status of our local roads today.”
Also they extend their protest to Ogun State House of Assembly where the Comrade Ayuba Olatunji said the 1999 Constitutional amendment process continues with input from the State Houses of Assembly, the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has sought for the support of the State Assembly at ensuring that local government autonomy is granted to further strengthen the tier of government across the nation.
Ayuba said that the autonomy, when put in place would promote good governance and ensure viable socio-economic development for the third tier of government towards attaining more rural development in the country.
The NULGE Chairman who also canvassed for legislative autonomy in the on-going constitution amendment process stated that such would enhance the principle of checks and balances for a vibrant democracy in all the Federating units.
In his response, the Speaker, Rt. Hon Suraju Ishola Adekunbi, represented by the Deputy Clerk of the Assembly, Mr. Deji Adeyemo applauded the union for choosing necessary and peaceful process in presenting their position to the Legislature, saying that their commitment towards ensuring good governance was well acknowledged.
He promised that the assembly would continue to contribute its quota as an active partner in the development of the State through people oriented legislation and assured that the union’s request would be forwarded to the appropriate quarter for necessary action.