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Obasanjo says states against independent local governments are enemies of the people

He believes states that are against making local councils autonomous should be treated as enemies of the people.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo

While addressing a group named "Friends of Democracy" in  Abeokuta, Ogun State, on Monday, November 12, 2018, he said governments that are against making local councils autonomous should be treated as enemies of the people.

He expressed his frustration with the fact that only nine states had passed the bill sent by the National Assembly to make council areas more independent.

He said, "Local government is meant to be autonomous. But from what we know, most states have incapacitated the councils. They have virtually stolen their money in what they called joint account. They are to contribute 10% but they never contribute anything.

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"So, what we have across the country are local government areas that have functions but cannot perform them. They have staff but most of them cannot pay the workers and we keep getting excuses upon excuses.

"The bill passed by the National Assembly has only been signed by nine states. I am proud of those states because they are what you will call progressive states that really believe in democracy."

The former president praised the state governments that signed the bill. They are Osun, Bayelsa, Cross River, Bauchi, Sokoto, Kwara, Niger, Plateau, and Benue.

He added, "But we must say those state executives and the legislatures that have prevented the bill from being passed, they must be taken as the enemies of the people and they should be treated as such.

"Because if you enjoy autonomy from the federal government, why don't you want local governments to enjoy autonomy?"

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The former president called on the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) to fight for the interests of the people and realise that the interests will best be served at the local government that has autonomy.

State Houses of Assembly voted on a host of constitutional amendments earlier this year but the Local Government Autonomy Bill failed to pass because it was not approved by the required 24 states.

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