By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—THE Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, has taken a swipe at members of Imo State House of Assembly, IMHA, for voting against financial autonomy of local government councils in the state.
Addressing journalists yesterday, the NULGE State Secretary, Comrade Jamilu Mustapha, commended the state assemblies of Niger, Plateau, Bauchi, Benue, Kwara, Ogun, Bayelsa and Cross River State, for supporting financial autonomy of local councils in Nigeria.
“It is most unfortunate that Imo State House of Assembly voted against the expectations of all stakeholders, including the good people of Imo and local government workers in the state”, Mustapha said.
While wondering why Governor Rochas Okorocha did not actualise his earlier promise to NULGE national leadership on the matter, Mustapha however expressed optimism that “all hopes are not lost for now, as only Imo and Edo states have voted against the financial autonomy of local councils in Nigeria.”
It was the considered opinion of the labour leader that giving their consent for the full autonomy of local government councils ought to have been the first faviurable amendment, amongst the bills sent by the National Assembly.
“The national leadership of the Union is disappointed by the action of Imo lawmakers, considering the advocacy visit we paid to the House on the matter and the assurance given by the Speaker and the honourable members that they will go with the aspiration of people that voted for them”, Comrade Mustapha said.
Answering a question, the NULGE Secretary said that “the lawmakers have knowingly or unknowingly sold their birthright”, stressing that “this singular act, will continue to retard the development of local government councils and majority of our people, who are at the grassroots, will continue to suffer.”
After enumerating the advantages of local government autonomy, Comrade Mustapha appealed that “the present precarious position of local governments all over the country, needs to be addressed, so as to guarantee grassroot development, in line with global best practices.”