Local government employees in Oyo State are seeking autonomy for the councils in the state. The employees under the aegis of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Oyo State Chapter, on Thursday held a rally to demand financial, political and administrative autonomy for local governments.
The workers, after converging at Labour House, headquarters of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), hit the streets of Ibadan singing solidarity songs and displaying placards with various inscriptions that expressed displeasure at government’s refusal to allow the third tier of government operate independently.
The protesters, led by the State Chairman, Comrade Titilayo Sodo, the South West Chairman, Comrade Oludare Famoofo in company of other state executive members, later headed to the state secretariat where they delivered their demand to Governor Abiola Ajimobi and the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Michael Adeyemo.
Speaking before the march commenced, Comrade Sodo called on the federal and state governments to implement the Supreme Court judgment of 2002 which outlaws continuous appointment of caretaker committee chairmen to run the affairs of local governments, noting that the practice has hindered the effective development of councils across the country.
He said that granting administrative autonomy to local governments in the country will enhance quick development and growth at the grass roots level, which would translate to making democracy participatory and impactful on the people.
According to him, the operation of joint account by the local and state governments, provides an avenue for siphonong of the funds meant for te development of the people grassroots.
His words: “Our core demand in requesting for local government autonomy includes: political, financial and administrative autonomy of local governments, abolition of State/LGA joint accounts, payment of 10 per cent Internally Generated Revenue by state governments to councils as well as stoppage of deductions from federal allocation by state governments.
“Proposal for payment of teachers’ salaries to be on first-line charge of FAAC, abolition of SIEC and reverting the conduct of local government elections to INEC, implementing the ruling of Supreme Court judgement against appointment of caretaker committees for LGs and reckless dissolution of elected local government councils.”
While receiving the protesters, House speaker, Adeyemo said the state legislature would ensure that the workers demands would be properly addressed.