LG autonomy: Workers shutdown Ondo assembly


…says No autonomy, no general election

By Akintunde Jacobs, Akure

Workers and Members of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Ondo State branch have protested over mounted pressure on the Ondo lawmakers to vote against the Local Government Autonomy in the new constitution being reworked by the National Assembly.

The protesting workers, who shutdown the state House of Assembly complex on Tuesday in Akure, however, vowed that “No autonomy, no election in Ondo state in the forthcoming general election.

The National Vice President, NULGE, Abimbola Babalola, said system of the local government must be autonomous and urged the lawmakers in the state to do the needful by passing the autonomy bill into law.

While imploring the state legislature to accelerate the process required for the total autonomy of the local government system in Ondo, Babalola appealed to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to desist from mounting pressure on the lawmakers in order to vote against the Local Government Autonomy in the state.

Babalola said Akeredolu has no reason to put pressure on the lawmakers to reject the Local Government autonomy as they voted for him for second term because he guaranteed them the autonomy they requested during the election.

Also speaking at the peaceful protest, the state president of NULGE, Bola Taiwo, urged Akeredolu not to tow the path of others states that opposed the autonomy.

According to him, passages of local government financial autonomy to the state legislature and state judiciary, administrative, independent candidacy and power to enforce compliance of remittance of accruals into federation account and review of revenue allocation formula are very much important to the union.

Taiwo said they would not allow the Assembly members to have access to the complex unless they guarantee them the passage of the local government autonomy.

The NULGE officials also threatened to paralyze the social, economy and political activities in
the state if the Assembly members refuse to pass the local government autonomy bill pending before them into law.

Recall that there was an alleged pressure on the House of Assembly from the Executive Arm of government to vote against the local government autonomy in the new constitution being reworked by the National Assembly.

A reliable source within the Assembly where the issue of constitutional amendment was discussed said majority of the lawmakers were on shouting match over whether or not the issue of local government autonomy should be jettisoned or not.

The workers NULGE officials who came to the Assembly complex with different placards said they would use their voting power to reject any lawmaker or party that deny them the autonomy in the constitution being reworked by the National Assembly.

Some of the inscriptions on the placards read “Yes to LG autonomy” “Yes to judicial autonomy” “No autonomy, No vote” and “On autonomy we stand” among others.

The NULGE leaders said 16 states in the country had so far signed the LG autonomy bill into law and Ondo State should be one of the remaining states that would assent to the bill as passed by the National Assembly.

But while addressing the protesting workers, the two lawmakers who came to the Assembly during the protest, Feyide Oluyede representing Ose and Tomide Akinribido (Ondo West) who is the Deputy Minority leader said there was no iota of truth in the allegation that the Assembly was under pressure to reject the local government autonomy.

The lawmakers, however, promised to deliver the protest letter to the Speaker of the State Assembly, David Oleyeloogun, who they said was not around to personally receive it.

Meanwhile, the Assembly has called off its plenary sitting to pass the 2023 Appropriation Bill into law sequel to the protest of the local government workers.