The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to confer with relevant stakeholders and commence work as a matter utmost national importance, towards granting autonomy to local governments’ administration in the country.
He also called on members of the States’ Houses of Assembly to demonstrate that they derive their sovereignty from the people and support the National Assembly’s concerted efforts in granting autonomy to local governments. The country, monarch said, will be a better place when this autonomy is granted, as history will therefore remember all those who have, and who will support this genuine demand.
Oba Adeyemi made the call today when members of National Union of Local Government Employees [NULGE] comprising the executives, leaders, and women representatives from the four local governments Afijio, Atiba, Oyo-East and Oyo-West] that constitute Oyo Federal Constituency paid him a Save Our Souls visit.
According to him, ‘’ The quest for deeper and viable democratic instrument that will create the means for regular interactions between the people and the government, for proper service delivery and alleviation of poverty among the local population necessitated the idea of unfettered autonomy for local governments in the country. Many of the democratic nations of the world, including United States of America, Brazil, and India have come to terms with the need to strengthen local governments and make them functional in scope and operation.
The socio-economic reality of the modern world has imperatively compelled every serious nation to improve the standard of living of the local population through a viable and efficient local administration’’. He noted that despite the desperate economic notion behind colonialism, the British colonial government in Nigeria after the amalgamation realised the paramount need for robust governance at the grassroots, hence their style of local administration though a facade, yet, they were conscious of its importance. ‘’Regrettably, development of the grassroots which should always be the concern of every responsible and responsive political system has not been the primary focus, as development and participation have continued to escape people of the grassroots.
Development remains insignificant if it does not positively affect the lives of those in the periphery of decision making arrangement. Local Governments in Nigeria were created as the third tier of government whose objective are to ensure effective, measurable and efficient service delivery to the people. Why then are these genuine motives being stultified, council workers and rural dwellers are made to suffer for the unjust cause?’’.
Earlier, the State Public Relations Officer of NULGE, Pastor John Ojo, said there is no doubt that Local government autonomy will bring about rapid transformation to the grassroots, unlike the present situation of stunted growth and inaction, adding that grassroots development will tremendously reduce rural urban drift, congestion and criminal propensity in our city centres. ‘’If autonomy is granted local governments, there will definitely be a reduction in rural urban drift which will equally reduce organised crimes in the country .Council workers would not be owed salaries for months as is presently the case in the state’’.