A retired Permanent Secretary and Local government administrator in Oyo state, Elder Emmanuel Adegboyega Adebunmi has declared that Nigeria can only get it right if local government in the country are accorded total autonomy to operate.
Elder Adebunmi stated this while presenting a paper at a two day Workshop for Media/CSO dialogue on Local Government Autonomy organized by Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) held at Pees Fun hotels, Awotan in Ibadan .
The retired Permanent Secretary said the importance of local government to any society cannot be overlooked considering its closeness to the grassroots, saying, a nation that refuses to strengthen local government administration and allow it to function effectively will never develop
He lamented that it was unfortunate that local government in Nigeria has been reduced to the background instead of promoting and projecting it for the needed development of the grassroots and its people.
Emphasizing that there are so many factors hampering the development of local government in the country and that majority of it can be solved through local government autonomy, he disclosed that local government as the oldest form of government was created for effective participation of the people at the grassroots for speedy development but has been bastardized as the state executives have rendered them totally useless.
He lamented that it was unfortunate that in Nigeria as at present, “local government is virtually non existence’. If just 30 percent of the Federal allocation were allowed to go into local government for there will be more development than what we are witnessing now.”
He however advocated for the positive and upward reversal of the allocation to local government for the country to witness better development, saying, ” there is the need for reversal in the allocation of resources to the Local government. 35% of the Federation Account should go to the Local Government for Nigeria to have more development “
Elder Adebunmi then urged the Media to rise up and be in the vanguard of reversing the sharing formula in favour of local government in Nigeria
Declaring the workshop open, Oyo state President of NULGE, Alhaji Bayo Titilola Sodo said without Local government autonomy, there cannot be progress especially at the grassroots.
Speaking through Comrade Romoke Opabunmi, the Oyo NULGE President emphasized that Local government in Nigeria has to be independent, saying the issue of autonomy for the local government should not be compromised.
In his presentation, Mr Jide Bamgbose of thr Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) in his paper entitled : Overview on Constitutional Amendment on lG enablement said the weakness of the government institution have room for manipulation of local government. administration.