By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
AHEAD of the 2023 general elections, local government workers under the umbrella of National Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, on Thursday threatened to mobilize its members to vote against the All Progressives Congress, APC, if its governors continue to campaign against local government autonomy.
NULGE has also accused the APC governors of intimidating Speakers of State Assembly in their nocturnal meetings in Abuja, advising the state lawmakers to perish the idea of granting autonomy to local government administrations.
Briefing journalists in Abuja, the National President of NULGE, Olatunji Ambali, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari as the leader of the party to call to order, all APC fovernors especially, Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong.
He alleged that Governor Fayemi has been leading the charge to scuttle the move to strengthen and deepen good governance at the local government level.
Comrade Ambali further advised Governor Lalong of Plateau State who is currently the Director-General of APC Presidential Campaign Council to desist henceforth from promoting the fight against local government autonomy or be seen to be supporting anti-people agenda, adding that the result would have consequences.
According to him, “NULGE in collaboration with NLC have directed all our members across the country to be on the look out. We will not support any party that moves against local government autonomy.
“We have directed them to keep their Permanent Voters Card and vote out all the anti people leaders who are hell bent on destroying the local government.
“We want to draw the attention of Nigerians to the clandestine and anti-people move by Governor Kayode of Ekiti State, who since three days ago, has been in Abuja mobilising various States Assembly Speakers, coercing them, intimidating them and inducing them to vote against local government autonomy.
“One will wonder why Governor Fayemi who will be exiting office in less than 50 days is so desperate to ensure the continuity of destruction of this country as a nation.
“We have a security report that Governor Fayemi had a nocturnal meeting with Speakers of State Assembly again for the third time, two days ago, whereby, he directed that those that have not passed the Local Autonomy Bill should discontinue discussion and debate while those that have passed it should also look for a way to withdraw it.
“We don’t understand why Fayemi is desperate. Maybe, he is afraid of how he mismanaged local government funds.
“As of today, Fayemi is owing local government workers over seven months salary.
“We have also been notified that an anti people committee has been inaugurated under the leadership of Governor Kayode Fayemi and to be led by Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong who doubles as the Director-General, APC Presidential Campaign Council to work so rapturously against local government autonomy in Nigeria.
“We want to warn Governor Lalong to be careful of his role presently. Let him not send a wrong signal that will be deemed as anti people, and you don’t like Nigeria.
“As of today everyone in Nigeria is clamouring for a functional, autonomous and service driven local government system. This cannot continue. Currently, most of our villages have been deserted because of lack of basic amenities.”
The NULGE President said only 12 states have attended to the bill, adding that out of the 12 states, 10 have passed the bill while two voted against the bill.
He, however, commended the State Houses of Assembly lawmakers that chose to stand by the Nigerian people who also realised the need to stem the tide of destruction that is currently being witnessed in Nigeria, in the area of insecurity, poverty, joblessness and lack of infrastructure and also a positive attempt to stem the title of rural urban drift.
He mentioned the states that have passed the bill as, Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Ogun, Osun, Edo, Delta, Kogi and Katsina while Ekiti and Lagos states voted against the bill.
Also speaking, the General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Emma Ugbaja warned that Nigerian workers will not fail to use its might which is the Voters Card to show her rejection of any party or its agents that opposes local government autonomy in the forthcoming general elections.