Obasanjo condemns state Governors bastardisation of LG admin system


The former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has condemned how state governors across the country have rendered “impotent”  and useless the 774 local government administrations.
Obasanjo made this condemnation when a 60 – member delegation of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) visited him at his  Presidential Hilltop Estate, Abeokuta, in Ogun State.
He berated the glaring injustices and overbearing influence of the elected state governors on the Local governments.
He maintained that the state governors wouldn’t have taken such lightly should the federal government chooses to treat them the same way.
NULGE delegation, led by its National President, Ibraheem Khaleel had visited Obasanjo’s home in Abeokuta on Wednesday to solicit his support towards finding a way to liberate the local government administrations from the alleged grip of the elected 36 state governors.
Khaleel had complained to the former President that all the elected state governors without exception, “have completely rendered the Local Governments impotent and battered it through massive encroachment, diversion of funds and non implementation of rules establishing them (LGAs).”
Obasanjo however told them, that he is helpless about their plights, noting that when the LGA was reformed in 1976, by the then military government which he was a part of, it gave LGAs  “functions, responsibilities and duties” to perform.
He said it is saddening now to observe that state governors’ interference has completely eroded the “sanctity and constitutionality” of establishing LGAs.
Obasanjo however said Nigerians should keep talking to the Members of the National and states Assemblies as well as other stakeholders towards finding a way to make the LGAs truly functional and democratic as envisioned by founding fathers.
“Coming to me or me saying something is not the answer. I’m like a cripple. I have no executive power. I have no legislative power,  but you are not crippled and you can show them that you are on ground. Local Government should be allowed to carry out its function.
“But I wonder, if the states can allow what they are doing to the Local Governments to be done to them by the Federal Government.
“Sadly, very, very sadly, the autonomy of the Local Governments almost without any exception, have been bastardized and encroached by the States.
“Both are supposed to be tiers of government with each having its roles and functions. But, that is not the case. We shall continue to talk until those who are reasonable among them change this attitude.”
Earlier, the NULGE President said the union had come to Obasanjo on a rescue mission of the LGA system, noting that, as founding member of the administration in 1976, they had autonomy of the Local Governments in mind.
“We are aware that the mission was to make the council independent in running the affairs, but, the situation has changed and the states have rendered the local governments impotent.
“As it is now, the governors cannot not do anything. Only yesterday, Abia state governor said he cannot afford to raise N800m to conduct council election. That is why we decided to come to you to use your experience and not to allow local government system go into extinction.”
“Also, we want to crave your indulgence as the father of local government administration in Nigeria, we want to have a special role to play when you mark your 80th birthday next year, March, 2017.
“We want to have a lecture programme, which you will be present to talk on local government administration in order to remember our people what the local government stands for. We pray for God’ s protection over you and your family”.


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