The Local Government Chairmen, Council Workers under the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) waiting on Oyo Assembly to join some State Houses of Assembly across the federation that have passed the Local Government Autonomy, to do same in Ibadan, may not have their dream realised under the current Assembly leadership.
Reason? The Executive arm led by Governor Seyi Makinde has pointedly told the lawmakers to put further consideration of the bill in abeyance.
An opposition lawmaker in the Assembly who craved anonymity told journalists on Wednesday in Ibadan that the Governor, contrary to his avowed commitments
to councils’ Autonomy before he assumed power, is now aversed to the passage of the bill.
The All Progressives Congress lawmaker said, “at a recent Assembly Caucus meeting, it was brought for discussion and Governor’s apologists in the house said he (Makinde) is against the passage for the bill.
“This development may further spell doom for the Local Government administration across the 33 local governments in the State.”
According to the APC chieftain, “it is now certain that Mr. Speaker and majority lawmakers who are in the Governor’s party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are in cahoot and ready to forestall further debates on this bill at the floor.
“You should remember that the Senate in March 1st this year passed 44 bills. The Local Government Autonomy Bill was among the 44 bills passed by the National Assembly.
“And it was subsequently transmitted to the State Houses of Assembly for concurrence of atleast two-third of the State Assemblies, later that month through the Clerk of the National Assembly,
“As a lawmaker, people like us were of the opinion that the State Governor Engr. Seyi Makinde would allow the House do its work with a view of joining other States that have passed the bill into law.
“Among the States that have passed the bill were Abia; Kogi; Edo; Ogun; Kwara; Delta; Anambra; Enugu; Katsina Akwa-Ibom; and our neighbouring Osun State.
“Just last week, the leadership of our Assembly said the Governor was not favourably disposed to the passage of the bill that would grant full financial and administrative autonomy to the Local Governments.
“As Pacesetter State, we should be setting another pace in this regard but one wonders why our Governor is not in tune with this reality.
“As a democrat, I am worried that we are depriving the people good governance in this State.
“The bill would have brought government closer to our people than what is currently obtainable.
“The problem of insecurity, lack of social amenities, poverty and unemployment would vanish once there is functional Local Government system in the State,” he added.
Asked why he and his colleagues in the opposition have remained silent over issues bordering on transparency and accountability in the running of the State, the lawmaker simply said that, “our lives matter and you should understand what I mean in that context.
Besides that, the ruling party lawmakers are in overwhelming majority and there is little we can do as minority members,” he further disclosed.
The Oyo Assembly lawmaker’s position came on the heels of recent statement by some civil society organsiations (CSOs) which berated lawmakers in the state assemblies for their lack of commitment to passing the Local Government Autonomy bill in the ongoing constitution amendment process.
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) and Transparency International (TI) have asked the State Assemblies to do the right thing and pass the LG autonomy bill.
Speaking through their leader, Awwal Musa Rafsanjani, the CSOs said most lawmakers are only interested in politicking rather than working on laws for the good governance of the country
“Like we have always maintained, most of these lawmakers are not really interested in constitution amendment. What they have done is just to justify the spending from the votes (funds) for the constitution amendment.
“This process has been going on and we have not got any favourable outcome. As far as we are concerned, the move by the National Assembly to show that they were working on the constitution was to justify the billions and other things spent in the name of constitution amendment,” he said.
Rafsanjani added that the lawmakers know exactly what they are doing, and now that many of the members in the state houses of assembly are not coming back, just like lawmakers of the National Assembly, Nigerians should not be surprised if the LG autonomy bill is not passed
The National President of NULGE, Akeem Ambali who has been vociferous about the passage of the bill, believed that the law would attract quality set of people to local government administration and that fund meant for development at the local government would not be diverted and that elected public Office holders at local government councils would be able to serve unhindered and deliver services to the people.
Both the Chairman, Oyo Assembly Parliamentary Caucus and the NULGE President in the State could not be reached for their comments on this development.