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*By Khodijah Awojoodu, Ibadan.

NULGE President, Comrade Ambali has insisted that local government autonomy is the solution to Nigeria’s problem.

9Janewshub.com.com.ng reports that functional local government system has been described as the only solution to series of challenges facing the country.

Briefing journalists on Saturday by Comrade Ambali Akeem Olatunji, the National President of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) berated the negligence of primary schools by the state governments.

Ambali who led members of his union and other concerned stakeholders to the venue of the Conference of Speakers of the State Legislatures, IITA Ibadan stressed that local government autonomy is the only way out to Nigeria problems.

The NULGE Boss also commended Governor Nyesom Wike of River state for his commitment to primary education system in his state, he also berated Governor Makinde over his statement at the summit.

Ambali said, For Governor Makinde who we all believe is a progressive man to have said that the issue of local government autonomy is not sustainable that means he the Governor is not sincere, he statement is half truth.”

Ambali further said, “allocation from the Federal Government is enough for us to sustain the local government, we are not even talking about those burden put on us by those various state governments, that the local government should fully fund primary education which should be the statutory role of the government.

“Our believe is that if all governors allow local government to handle their allocation fully, they will be able to pay salaries and also be able to do infrastructural development in Nigeria and with this we will be able to address the case of insecurity, would be able to give good governance to our people, we would be able to be more closer to the people, we would be able to also give hope to the youths and also to the women.

“The vocational skilly acquisition will be made available to the people, we have realized that those governors making this sign comments are doing their comments as self serving and not patriotic interest of their people, so we want to appeal to Governor Seyi Makinde to retrace his steps, is a young man and we saw in him at the beginning as a progressive Governor, we should not be pushed by our self interest alone, we should show interest in Nigeria,  Nigeria must be allow to progress, Nigeria is sick presently, that’s our believe.”

“We are also going to engage the speakers house of assemblies to let them know that this is a patriotic duty, Nigerians are watching them, 2023 is around the corner, we want to tell Nigerians, any governor that oppose local government autonomy should be vote out of office, Nigerians should go out en-mass and vote any Governor who opposed local government autonomy out of power come 2023, because they are not qualified to lead Nigerians.”

“Functional education goes beyond issue of salary, our believe is that the role of funding primary education should be a tripartite agreement, the Federal, the state and the local government and fund for primary education should be deducted from first line charge, so that both the federal, the state should participate, unlike what we are having presently which is against the supreme court judgement that says local government should only participate in funding primary education.

“So our believe is that if the tripartite works as agreed in this recent amendment there would be a robust educational program and policies in Nigeria and primary education would be better off than it’s now, most of the rural schools cannot be actually called a good school and that is the why most people are now taking their children to private schools and our believe is that when the foundation is faulty the education will not met the demand of modern days development and aspirations of technological breakthrough.

“So our believe is that primary education should be well funded, local government is ready to participate, in the prescription it was stated that local government should participate in the funding of primary education and they should not pay more than the state governments, what the state government is doing presently is putting all the whole burden on the shoulder of the local government, if local government is given the allocation of 100 million, 65 to 70 million will be plug into funding of primary education, while the state government will just seat down conveniently without paying or putting anything into primary education, except Governor Wike who fund primary education completely from the state government account and that is why you can see development and growth in Rivers state and it’s Local Government.”

“The roles of local government used to be very functional, they are the only symbol of governance and respect of Nigeria people. The connection between governance and the people is local government, because that is the first point of entry and interaction between people and the government, that is why Nigerians are now confused because the people who didn’t witness the local government performances are now saying what is the essence of democracy?, even military are better, God forbid, we are not saying that, but even in the military the local government are allowed to function optimally.”

“In 70s, 80s, up till 1988 when INEC conducted local government election, we had a very credible local government election by electoral body and that created a credible leaders which are acceptable to the people unlike what we are having now, what we are having now is a charades, you can’t call it an election, it is coronation, appointment and promotion and why are we having that? The governors are preferred to be having the local government funds, and that is why they have put their cronies there who cannot question their authorities.”

“So if we must get it right at the local government we must allow a credible election to be conducted at the local government and that will be a source of democratic involvement, it will create a political platform and a space for Nigerian government, we can see now that it’s very difficult for any local government to tarred road, to maintain roads, and to also meet up with other obligations, unlike in the past, when the local government used to sink bore holes here and there, we used to grade roads, we used to evacuate refuse, we used to construction primary schools, we use to give bursaries to the students, we used to create vocational skills acquisition and empowerment to youths and women all these are gone because the funds for all these have been hijacked by the state governments.”

“Our believe is that we need to return Nigeria back to those days, which is path of progress and development, so that all of us will sleep with two eyes closed, the problem now is that people don’t know the different between the governor and a local government chairmen, if they need to grade their roads they will call on Governor, if they want to clear the roads of dirt they will call on the governor and the Commissioners, that is not the proper narrative.”

“We want a situation where the local government will be return to the service center that they are known for, this will help the country in providing social services, and infrastructural development at that basic level so that we will be able to address insecurity, because most of all the Insecurity challenges we are having are local.”

“Local government should be allowed to provide security and safety in our rural Communities because most of these challenges happens in the rural roads, in the rural communities, the kidnapping, attack, banditry, arson all happened around rural axis, untill we bring people along and involved people, that is when we will be able to get it right.”

“The numerous advantages of having a functional local government cannot be over emphasized, that is why that despite all the money invested in the development and growth of the people under this democratic settings is not significant because the structure through which you access the community has been destroyed, if we have a functional local government you will get a functional education system, functional health care system and functional security and other basic amenities.” Ambali said.

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