Ex-President condemns erosion of local councils’ powers by states

Speaking earlier, the NULGE president said the union had come to enlist the support of the elder statesman in rescuing the local government system.

Olusegun Obasanjo

Obasanjo said that the local council structure had been bastardised, battered and encroached upon by states, contrary to the objectives of creating the third-tier of government in 1976.

"I wish I could help, but I am helpless," the former president said when receiving the leadership of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) who paid him a courtesy visit in Abeokuta on Wednesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NULGE leadership was led by the National President, Mr Ibraheem Khaleel.

He described the neglect to which the councils had been subjected by states as unprecedented, wondering whether states could allow the Federal Government to do the same to them.

"I begin to wonder if they (states) can allow what they are doing to the local governments to be done to them.

``There is no exception to this bastardisation and encroachment by states.

`` Even though both are supposed to be separate tiers of government with each having its roles and functions, that is not the case anymore.

``As it is, I can only help you to shout and talk to the world. I do not have any executive or legislative power. I am crippled.

``But we shall continue to talk until those who are reasonable among them change this attitude," Obasanjo said.

``As a major player in the 1976 local government reform, we are aware that the mission was to make the councils independent.

`` But the situation has changed and the states have rendered the local governments impotent.

``As things are now, the governors cannot not do anything, that is why we decided to come to you to use your experience and not to allow the local government system go into extinction,’’ Khaleel said.

He also sought Obasanjo’s permission for the union to play a special role when the former president would clock 80 in March 2017.

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