By James Ogunnaike
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday, attributed the worrisome state of local government administration in the country to corruption on the part of the nation’s politicians
Obasanjo who said this in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital when he played host to the National President of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Akeem Ambali, said, the rot in the local government actually started by the military, who wanted to have such local councils in their respective areas. This increased the number to 774 from about 300.
He lamented that the situation in the 774 local governments have worsen, as they could not even afford grader to make their roads motorable among other functions highlighted by the 1976 Local Government Reform, saying the survival of the current state of local government administration in the country is in the hand God.
The former President, therefore, urged local government workers in the country to be prayerful for things to get better.
Obasanjo said the local government reform has been degraded by the states’ executives.
He said, “I am of the view that the situation needs prayers. A situation whereby a local government cannot even afford a grader to make local roads motorable, a situation where they cannot build hospital or provide for the educational needs of their people is not what we want the local government to be when we are creating the 1976 Reform.
“Well, the rot actually started by the military, who wanted to have such local councils in their respective areas. This increased the number to 774 from about 300.
“But, the politicians further make it worse with corruption. These were not what we envisioned, when we created local governments reform in 1976.
Local governments are expected to provide overall quality of life for the people who reside in their communities, but is that what we have now? Obasanjo queried.
Earlier, the new NULGE National President, Comrade Akeem Ambali intimated the former President on the recent happenings, disclosing that the Union needed his intervention and contribution on the planned delisting of local government from the 1999 constitution by the National Assembly.
Ambali described the bill as an attempt to kill local government administration in the country.
According to him, union leaders have been mandated to visit members of the lower chambers in their constituencies as part of advocacy and engagement to ensure they stand with the people.
He said: “delisting the local government from the constitution is grievous. Even with it still functional, they capitalise on the lacuna in section 7 (6 A&B), which permits the Houses of Assembly to legislate and appropriate funds for local governments, to mismanage local government funds.
“If they can perpetuate this illegality despite the constitutional provisions, it will be worse when the local government is delisted. This is because money meant for development at the grassroots will be credited to the state government and governors, and nobody will be responsible for the growth and development of the local government.
“We decided to come and inform you about this inhumane step, which you genuinely created in 1976. It will rubbish the good intentions that you had and completely mess up the councils,” Ambali said.