By Joan Nwagwu
Abuja – The Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) has urged State Houses of Assembly to support the constitutional amendment granting autonomy to Local Governments, to enable it become law.
The NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, made the call at a news conference on Friday in Abuja.
Wabba, who commended the National Assembly for voting in favour of Local Government autonomy, said that the lawmakers demonstrated bravery by respecting the wishes of the people in spite of pressures from vested interests.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the granting of autonomy to the Local Governments, currently controlled by the state governments, was among many constitution amendment drafts passed by the National Assembly recently.
The amendments must, however, go to the 36 State Houses of Assembly for their concurrence.
The minimum requirement for the amendments to qualify to become law is the concurrence of at least two-third of the 36 State Houses of Assembly.
“We want the state lawmakers to concur; we want them to be on the side of the people.
“We want them to be on the side of history by displaying the same courage as their colleagues at the National Assembly.
“We similarly call on governors of the 36 states to sheathe partisan or insular considerations and support these amendments in the national interest.
“We call on other Nigerians, whose support is invaluable, to rise and mobilise support and spare no effort toward ensuring that these amendments become law,” he said.
He said that the amendment, if it became law, would free-up the local governments from the strangle-hold of state governments.
“This will widen the democratic space and restore the lost glory of the local governments,” he said.
Wabba said that the autonomy would embolden the local government system and enable it develop as a third tier of government with the capacity to discharge its constitutional responsibilities to its constituents.
The NLC president said that the autonomy would also decentralise power and restore it to ordinary citizen at the grass roots level.
“It will give a voice to the voiceless, especially the minorities, who have been short-changed at the state and federal levels of government,” he said.
Wabba commended the 8th National Assembly for making history, stressing that they shall be remembered for refusing to bow to selfish interests to stifle the popular wish of Nigerians.
He also commended the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees and the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria for harmonising their positions to confront their challenges in the Local Governments.(NAN)