The leadership of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has sought the backing of former President Olusegun Obasanjo towards the actualization of an autonomous local government system in Nigeria.
NULGE National President, Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel, disclosed this to journalists shortly after he led other union leaders on a working visit to Obasanjo in Abeokuta on Friday.
It will be recalled that both chambers of the National Assembly had, in 2017, passed into law the draft amended on Local Government reform.
The bill, however, required the passage by at least 24 States Houses of Assembly of the federation to become a law.
Comrade Khaleel told newsmen after the visit that the union’s leadership also briefed the former President about the struggle for a democratic, financially autonomous and politically stable local government system in Nigeria.
Speaking through the National Treasurer of NULGE, Comrade Akeem Ambali, the National President said the union would lobby relevant stakeholders in the country towards achieving their objective.
He expressed optimism that the passage of the bill would stem the tide of incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers through effective policing at the grassroots level.
He added that rural-urban migration would greatly be addressed through the actualisation of local government autonomy.
The union leader argued that the local government system in Nigeria had been destroyed and the essence of local government establishment is not achieved.
According to him, “We are also here to jaw-jaw with Baba (Obasanjo) on how to actualize the mandatory number of states that are expected to out effect to this amendment, which is 24 states.
“We are also using the opportunity to plead with other States Houses of Assembly to pass this transmitted bill into law so that the dividends of democracy can be enjoyed by the Nigerian people.
“Our opinion as a union is that Nigerian people deserve an autonomous local government system.
“We believe that if we are to stem the tide of insecurity, provide employment at the grassroots level, allow participatory local governance at the grassroots level, develop the culture of political leadership, the emancipation of people from the shackles of poverty, local government system must be purely autonomous.
“If we are serious about effecting positive change, the state governments and Houses of Assembly must queue behind the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari who promised in his inaugural speech that he would work assiduously to actualize an autonomous local government system for the betterment of Nigerian people.
“He also lives in Daura and knows the challenges and sufferings of local government people”.