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Ondo Assembly backs autonomy for local councils


•Opposition tackles gov over governance, others

The Ondo House of Assembly has backed autonomy for the third tier of government, saying by so doing, the local councils would unburden state legislatures.Its Speaker, Bamidele Oleyelogun, said the move would further strengthen Nigeria’s democracy.

Represented by the Chairman, House Committee on Youths, Sport and Information, Olamide George, the speaker said: “What is important to us is to do the needful and support local government autonomy. No man can rule out the grassroots. It is a liberation for all of us. It will be a relief for us if we have democratically elected leaders at the local government.”

The pledge followed a call on the legislature by the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) asking for its support.The union, in coalition with other organised labour bodies, yesterday mobilised its members across the 18 councils of the state to visit the complex in Akure soliciting their backing.

NULGE’s National President, Ibrahim Khaleel, said the rally, which began Monday and ends on Friday nationwide, was to lobby the 36 state houses of assembly by massively voting for the course.

He charged the lawmakers to concur with their seniors at the National Assembly who have already voted in support of administrative and financial independence for the councils.

Represented by the National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Fashe, Khaleel, lauded the federal legislators for passing the bill, asking the state lawmakers to approve it.

He recalled that past failures were informed by political reasons largely due to poor consultations, adding that the crusade was for the good of all.Similarly, the National President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, declared support for the course, saying it must be practised to enhance true federalism nationwide.

In another development, the state chapter of the Advanced Peoples Democratic Party (APDA) has tackled Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for allegedly fractionalising workers’ salaries and misapplying the second tranche of the Paris Club refund. The party accused the governor of playing politics with the welfare of the workforce.

Rising yesterday from a stakeholders’ meeting in Akure, APDA berated Akeredolu for allegedly being economical with the truth on the actual monthly salary of workers and pensioners. The opposition party also decried the current administration’s silence over the actual funds he inherited from his predecessor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko.

The party’s chairman, Chief Banji Akinkuowo, said it was disheartening that the governor had to be forced by workers before he could pay the balance of 20 per cent Paris Club refund for September salary arrear.Several attempts to reach the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Segun Ajiboye, were futile as he declined calls before eventually switching off.

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