By Emmanuel Elebeke & Joseph Erunke
The Ogun State Governor, Ibukunle Amosun has said heeding to the clamour for Local Governments’ autonomy in the country will free the states from financial burden.
Governor Amosun made the declaration while responding to the conferment of outstanding achievement award in governance by the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ during its 62nd anniversary lecture held on Thursday night in Abuja.
The Governor said Local Governments in his state have become a burden to his government as they cannot generate enough revenue to run them contrary to public perception that state governors divert their allocation into other uses.
He said his administration will support the clamour for the autonomy of Local Governments in so far as they can be self sustaining without state governors augment their expenses as he is currently doing in his state.
“I clearly support the clamour for Local Government autonomy, yes, if they can be self sustaining. But if they cannot, there will be no need. People will not know what we are passing through to pay salaries and wages of Local Governments. I can tell you that Local Governments in Ogun State are burden to my government, I don not know for other states.
“One thing that gladdens my heart is that we have nothing to hide. These days, governors are endangered species. But for me, he that cannot be cancelled cannot be saved. It is when criticism like this come that one can take a deep look and make corrections.
“It is a learning process; we will look at it and see where we can make our own contribution. The National Assembly will play its part and we will play our part also. I want to assure you that all of us know that it is not the way it is.
“Even the money we receive for Local Governments in Ogun State this month cannot pay primary school teachers. When people say governors take local governments money, I wonder where the money is. Yes, I know there may be some imperfections, but we will get there.
“The Local Governments do have any money as people think. The N2 billion allocation we received this month for instance cannot pay teachers salary, not to talk of political staff and others. Last month we had to augment local governments with over N2 billion. So, you can see that Local Governments in Ogun States is like a burden to us.”