Coalition raps Osun lawmakers, demands passage of Local Government Autonomy Bill

Posted by News Express | 31 March 2018 | 1,321 times

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The Osun State House of Assembly has been told to pass the Local Government Autonomy Bill into law for the benefit of the people, particular at the grassroots.

This was the demand of the Osun Coalition for Actualization of Local Government Autonomy (OSCALGA) in Osogbo, capital of Osun State.

The Coalition also urged the Osun State House of Assembly to organise a transparent public hearing on Local Government Autonomy Bill without further delay.

National Vice President of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), South West, Comrade Oludare Famoofo, who spoke on behalf of the Coalition, charged members of the Osun State House of Assembly to vote ‘Yes’ to local government autonomy and pass the bill immediately.

The agitation for the passage of the bill on local government autonomy became heightened in Osun with the formation of the coalition by stakeholders in the state. The stakeholders include civil society organisations, the media and trade unionists.

OSCALGA was unveiled at Comrade Ola-Oni Center in Osogbo, on Thursday, March 29, 2019.

The stakeholders said it was imperative for them to work together on the agitation for the passage of the bill on the autonomy for Local Government in the ongoing amendment of the 1999 constitution.

The Coordinator of the Coalition, Comrade Wale Adebisi, and Director General of the Committee for Democracy and the Rights of the People (CDRP), Comrade Amitolu Shittu, urged the Osun State House of Assembly to pass the local government Autonomy bill into law as demanded by the people of Osun state.

The NULGE South-West National Vice President highlighted the progress in the agitation for the bill and expressed optimism that their efforts would not be in vein.

According to the Coalition, “We urge Osun State House of Assembly to conduct a transparent public hearing on local government autonomy without hesitation so as to allow the people of the state to have input in the process.

“We urge the members of Osun State House of Assembly to be bold enough to face the reality and act in accordance with the aspiration of the people they represent by voting "YES" to local government autonomy.

“We appeal to our amiable governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, to support Local Government autonomy and ensure the passage of the bill to further demonstrate that he is truly a man of the people and that he will always put the people first.

“It would be recalled that late last year, 15 (fifteen) bills were transmitted by the National Assembly to the 36 (thirty six) Houses of Assembly in Nigeria for the concurrence votes in order to amend the relevant sections of the 1999 Nigeria constitution. Two of these bills are specifically meant to strengthen the Local Government System in Nigeria, these bills are bill 5 & 6.

“Bill 5 contains Distributable Pool account, an Act to alter the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to abrogate the State Joint Local Government Accounts and empower each Local Government Council to maintain its own special account and make provisions for savings in the Federation Account before distribution to other levels of Government; and for related matters.

“Bill 6 contains Local Government, an Act to alter the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to strengthen Local Government administration in Nigeria; and for related matters.

“While 13 (thirteen) bills had been treated by all the 36 Houses of Assembly, only twelve Houses of Assembly had treated bills 5 & 6 and 24 (twenty four) of them left the two bill pending. 9 of the Houses of Assembly treated the bills favorably by voting “Yes” while 3 of them voted “No” thereby rejecting the bills.

“Osun State is one of the Houses of Assembly that are yet to treat the bill and had slated the bill for public hearing.

“The Osun Coalition for Actualization of Local Government Autonomy believes that granting Local Government Autonomy would restore and improve socio-economic at the grassroots level and aid rapid development and national stability.

“We are imploring our legislators in the Osun State Houses of Assembly to be on the side of the masses by voting YES to Local Government Autonomy so as to encourage inclusiveness, good governance, security, accountability and delivery of democratic dividends to the people at the grassroots.

“We are not unaware of the impediments they are facing from the Executive arms but we implore them to write their names in gold by voting for the emancipation of the grassroots from the shackle of exclusive governance.

“It is only in Nigeria that our governors are talking about federalism without talking about the third tiers of government which the Local Government represents.

“While Nigeria 180 million population has 1 Federal Government, 36 States a Federal Capital Territory and 774 Local Governments, The Federal Republic of Germany of 82 million populations has 1 Federal Government, 16 Landers (States) 323 Districts and 12,477 municipalities.

“The provisions of Article 28 paragraph 2 Basic Law of the German republic throws sufficient light on financial arrangement in the country. The law states that: The municipalities shall be guaranteed the right to manage all the affairs of the local community on their own responsibility within the limits set by law. Within the framework of their statutory functions the associations of municipalities likewise have the right of self-government in accordance with the law. The right of self-government shall include responsibility for financial matters. The local governments have the power to levy trade taxes according to the rates for assessment determined by them.

“While our Leaders are talking about 2 federating state in U. S, they failed to talk about the fact that US has 1 Federal Government, 50 states, 3,034 county, 19,429 municipal (city, town village), 16,504 Townships (called Town in some states), 13,506 School Districts, 35,502 Special purpose utility (fire, police, library, etc) totaling 87,576 governments that according to Michael E. Libonati (2015) a professor of Law at Temple University, United States alluded of Local Governments in the United States of America that experience with local government, which is shared by all Americans, has rarely given rise to sustained and systematic reflection about the relationship between local government and state government because, in the country, the desire for local self-government has been institutionalized in thousands of compacts, charters, special acts, statutes, constitutional provisions, resolutions, ordinances, administrative rulings and court decisions since the earliest dates of settlement of the United States.

“Not to talk of Brazil where three tiers of government of 1 Federal Government, 26 States and 5,570 municipalities (Local Governments) are governments that are recognised by Law as the three tiers of Government.

“It is impossible to find two countries practicing federalism exactly the same way, every country has its own peculiar evolution, experience, formation, politics, culture and circumstances, this informs our forebears belief that Local Governments existence will address our diversity and bring sense of belonging to the minority because their local representatives can adequately caters for their needs.”

Source: News Express

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