Up to 1,000 local government workers in Oyo state on Wednesday held a solidarity walk to the Oyo State House of Assembly to lobby the lawmakers for a yes vote on the proposed debate for local government autonomy.
The local government autonomy bill recently passed by the National Assembly has been forwarded to the 36 state Assemblies for their own votes. At least, 24 state assemblies out of the 36 in the country, need to vote in support of the autonomy bill for it to become law.
The workers, under the aegis of National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Oyo State Chapter, assembled at the Labour House, headquarters of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state as early as 8am. Dorning branded T-shirts and carrying banners and placards with various inscriptions in support of autonomy for local governments, walked through the streets to the state secretariat.
They urged the lawmakers to vote in favour of financial, political and administrative autonomy for the local government.
The protesters were led by the State Chairman, Comrade Sikiru Titilayo-Sodo, the South West Chairman, Comrade Oludare Famofo and other state executive members as well as representatives of the NLC.
Comrade Titilayo-Sodo who addressed newsmen, advocated for the scrapping of the state Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) noting that it is a conduit pipe for siphoning of public funds.
He added that, granting administrative autonomy to local government 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.
His words: “Our core demand in requesting for local government autonomy includes: political, financial and administrative autonomy of LGAs. Abolition of State/LGA joint account, payment of 10% internally generated revenue by State governments to LGAs, stopping the deduction from LGA’s federal revenue allocation by State governments.
“We want the abolition of SIEC and reverting the conduct of local government elections to INEC, implement the ruling of Supreme Court judgement against appointment of caretaker committees for LGs and reckless dissolution of elected local government councils.”
Comrade Famofo in his remarks noted that the workers embarked on the rally to “solicit for the help of the state House of Assembly so that when the local government autonomy bill that has already been passed by the National Assembly is transmitted to the state Houses of Assembly, they will give it a yes vote”
According to him, many of the developmental hiccups in the country are “as a result of democracy not being practised at the grassroot level”. He opined that several security challenges were due to the inability of the government to allow Local Governments, which are closer to the people, operate based on their needs.
Speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Micheal Adeyemo who addressed the workers, that the needful will be done as soon as the bill is transmitted to the lawmakers.