By Ebele Orakpo
’WHY was the Senate against local government autonomy? The House of Representatives recognised the local government as a full tier of government, so why did the Senate choose to become a clog in the wheel of progress?” asked Idowu in the CMS-bound commuter bus.
“I think that was a right move, otherwise Nigeria’s wahala will multiply if the 774 local government councils are granted autonomy because they will take corruption to the next level,” said Dotun.
“What do you mean? I think the senators were simply backing the governors,” said Idowu.
“What is the work of the local government? Is it not to see to the development of the grassroots as they are the closest to the people. I believe it is in the best interest of the governors to allow them work without hindrance,” said Charles.
Concentration on major roads
Continuing, Charles said: “Take Lagos State for instance, the governor is doing great but some people are still saying he is doing nothing…”
“Because they are simply blind,” interjected Bose.
“No, you are wrong. They are not blind; they are telling you the truth as it concerns them. If you notice, the state government is concentrating on the major roads but those inner roads, the streets, are death-traps. They are supposed to be the job of the local governments but the state seized the whole money and is not doing the job. The local governments are closer to the people and are in a better position to meet the needs of their people and at the same time, complement the work of the state government so it beats me how these governors fail to understand that the local governments are there to complement their efforts,” said Charles.
“It is because the local government chairpersons do practically nothing and are so corrupt. They are only there to steal the monthly allocations. Some of them only work when the allocations are released. They share the money and go home to wait for the next allocation,” argued Bose.
”Are the governors any better? As far as I am concerned, they are all politicians cut from the same rock. Na the same mama born them all. But the truth is that as long as we, the led, continue to be docile, the politicians will continue to take us for a ride. We need to rise up and begin to demand accountability of our leaders. So I vote for LG autonomy because the people can easily get to them and demand accountability,” said Idowu.
“I get miffed when people praise those in authority for doing their job. What were they elected to do in the first place? They should release the local government allocations to them and let them do their work. The whole thing is all about money. The state governors want to control all the money coming to the states,” noted Kate.
“I read in the papers recently that the chairman of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission said that no federal lawmaker earns more than N1 million per month. It would have been okay if he stopped there but no, like a typical Nigerian politician, he proceeded to add salt to injury. He said N1 million a month should not be considered too big,” said Iyke.
“Oh really? In a country where salaries are nothing to write home about and lecturers are on strike and yet these people see nothing wrong in collecting such huge salaries and allowances? It’s simply outrageous,” said Kate.
How many professors earn such? What do these lawmakers do anyway?” asked Dotun.
“Ah! What they do? Is it easy to wear African parachute (agbada) everyday, shout, box and wrestle? Na serious work o. So they are hardly working, according to my Indian friends,” joked Iyke. “Anyway, they should not think they will enjoy their wealth with so many able-bodied youths idle,” said Idowu.