Wase, Elumelu, others pledge support for local government autonomy
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Idris Wase and Minority Leader, Hon Ndudi Elumelu, on Thursday, expressed overwhelming support for the proposed autonomy for Local Government Councils as part of an ongoing effort aimed at addressing myriad of challenges facing the country including infrastructural deficit and insecurity.
The duo expressed support in Abuja during the Two-Day Leadership and Development Master Class Training Program for the elected Local Government Chairmen and Councillors of Delta State.
The Deputy Speaker who expressed optimism in the capacity of Local Government in addressing a myriad of socio-economic and political challenges facing the country, said: “My dream for the country is to have a very sound, viral working local government system. When you have that one in Nigeria achieved, I want to say all the security challenges we are having in this country will be solved.”
Wase who doubles as Chairman, Special Ad-hoc Committee on Constitutional Amendment, expressed optimism that “before the end of this administration, we should deliver on our constitutional amendment to provide a workable local government system that will be the true third tier of government”
According to him, “Not the third tier that when you do Federation Account Allocation some few persons will go and sat somewhere in small rooms do all the cuttings and send out the peanuts. Meanwhile, the bulk of the problems, being it infrastructure, insecurity is there at the grassroots.”
While applauding the effort of President Muhammadu Buhari towards ensuring financial autonomy for the Local Government in the country, the Deputy Speaker said: “As for me, first as a member of parliament representing my constituency and my people, I think I am on the same page with my constituents to have an autonomous local government system, anchored on the generosity of what the President has done.
“If you remember sometime past, he signed an Executive Order to have financial autonomy for local government.
“It is not just about financial autonomy; we should also have complete independence of their administration, apart from their finances. That is the only way it can work, to make Nigeria and Nigerians great,” he noted.
On his part, the House Minority Leader, Hon Ndudi Elumelu, tasked subnational governments on the need to embrace the Local Government Council and invest in human capital development for effective service delivery.
According to him, ” that we need is lobbying. There’s the need for those fears of the Governors. One of the States that voted for local Government autonomy was Delta State, my Governor supported it in the last time when it came in 2015 to 2019 amendment/alteration, he supported it and the Houses of Assembly that supported it were about 10 States that voted in favour of it, Delta was among them.
“So the issue about my state voting for it again is not a question. It’s now left for other states to know that there is a need for them to emulate what Delta has done by supporting it. So if Delta State can support it I don’t see any other state that shouldn’t support local government autonomy.”
On his part, the Guest Speaker, Prof Epiphany Azeinge tasked the newly elected chairmen, vice-chairmen and councilors to see their political victory and emergence as leaders in their respective local government.
According to him, “Let me also invite all of you to see your victory as a call to service to your people and an opportunity to demonstrate leadership
“I want to advise you all to master your mandate as provided by the Constitution and extant laws and regulations
“As the third tier of government, you are critical stakeholders in our federal system of government. Be informed therefore that leadership comes with responsibility.
“Therefore you must show responsibility in all ramifications of your duties and obligations. And you do that by showing and demonstrating leadership to your staff and your people by being accountable in all you do, by being selfless and altruistic by observing due process and the rule of law by avoiding the culture of impunity.
“By identifying priorities and pursuing them to logical conclusions, learn to be frugal and prudent in the management of public funds, always realise that public fund is a public trust.
“Teamwork and team spirit cannot be over-emphasised at the cause of your duties, be role models, influencers, enablers and sources of inspiration to your people.
“Let me say this that good leaders are students of history. Learn from the mistakes of others and build upon their successes. Define and pursue your legacy. Never was there a leader without a legacy. Don’t be a mere footnote in history write your story for generations to come.
“For smooth fiscal autonomy with her political correctness or with political correctness, you can still achieve results without being confrontational or combative as the case may be.
“Learn to compare notes with colleagues from other jurisdictions in Nigeria, even outside as the case may be. Learn to accept and tolerate criticism but constructing otherwise. Know that time flies when you are in public office three years is like three days avoid completely,” he urged.