“As of today, we have been bedevilled by insecurity, poverty, deprived and engulfed by unemployment because of the failing system at the local government,” National President Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Comrade Olatunji Ambali has said.
Comrade Ambali stated this during a nationwide prayers for autonomy of local government in Nigeria at the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC ) secretariat.
He said granting local government autonomy would eliminate kidnapping and general insecurity in the country.
He said the third tier of government had been raped , following misrule and stealing of funds for development of the government which is closer to the people.
Speaking on the essence of the nationwide prayers, Ambali said the prayer was organised simultaneously across the 774 local governments areas in the country.
He said: “We are here to pray for a better Nigeria. This crusade is not only for the clamour for a minimum wage rather, we are proving to the world that NULGE consists of patriotic Nigerians who mean well for this nation, who think and pray for the existence and progress of the local government.
“Everyone can testify that Local Governments have been raped over time. It has witnessed systematic destruction as a result of misrule, diverting and stealing of local government funds, thereby hindering progressive development at the grassroots.
“No wonder, as of today, we have been bedevilled by insecurity, poverty, deprived and engulfed by unemployment because of the failing system at the local government.
“Money meant for growth and development, money meant to ensure that the dividends of democracy get to the nooks and cranny of the country were diverted. They are doing that because of the lacuna in our Constitution under section 162 of the 1999 Constitution, which created the Joint Allocation Account Committee.
“This has turned to a conduit pipe through which money meant for development are being syphoned. Consequently, section 7 of the same 1999 Constitution, guarantees the existence of a democratic system of government in Local Government.
“However, when you go further, there is confusion where it states that the House of Assembly can legislate over the structure, funding and continuity of local government operations.
“State governments hide under these Acts to perpetrate these atrocities against the people of Nigeria and we say it is time to fix Nigeria, time to fix the local government system because once we fix the local government, we have fixed Nigeria.”
While describing the local government as the most strategic and reliable service centre in governance, he said majority of the problems currently faced by the county was traceable and could be fixed with the actualisation of local government autonomy.
“When we achieve local government autonomy all these problems shall seize automatically. Let Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conduct elections. We want a transparent procedure.
“The process of electing and appointing people to man the affairs of the local government is no longer acceptable. It lacks transparency and credibility.
“The conduct of elections by the states electoral commission is not acceptable. It does not represent the political and aspirations of Nigerians,” the NULGE boss said.
While calling for patriotic Nigerians to join the struggle for the actualisation of local government autonomy, the union leader further pleader for “for full financial autonomy for the local government.
“Let local governments be empowered to use their funds to develop the local government.”