Vanguard (Lagos)

15 February 2013

Nigeria: NULGE Faults Amaechi On LG Autonomy

Port Harcourt — NATIONAL President of Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, Mr. Ibrahim Khaleel, has faulted the argument by Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State against the call for local government autonomy in the country.

Speaking to Vanguard during NULGE's Get Angry and Fight Back pro-local government autonomy rally in Port Harcourt, Khaleel accused the Rivers State governor of advancing a misleading notion that most government's in the world favour only two tiers of government.

He said: "The Chairman of Nigeria Governor's Forum, NGF, will be right to say most countries favour two tiers of government, but he twisted the argument with the impression that the global preference for two tiers system is to the exclusion of the local government.

"Even Britain, as a leading democracy in the world, is governed by two tiers of government recognising only the central and local (municipal) governments without state structures as we have in Nigeria. The Heathrow, one of the biggest and finest airports in the world, and the largest hospital in the UK, are managed by local administrative structures."

He said NULGE was displeased that state governors were holding the country to ransom over the issue of local government autonomy, which had gained overwhelming support of Nigerians as manifested in the National Assembly's debate and public hearing on the bill.

He said the governors, through the collective position of NGF, were overtly declaring, by their "self serving voices against local government autonomy," that they have been the bane of grassrootsroots development in Nigeria using the constitutional limitations of state and local governments joint account and states' power to conduct council elections, in eroding democracy and accountability in the third tier of government.

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