According to him, ‘until we return to the days of old when Local Governments were empowered financially and otherwise, we will not be able to spread the dividends of democracy deeper.’
The former governor insisted that major stakeholders including ASELGON must continue to mount pressures on the President and governors to ensure LGs regain their autonomy.
‘Part of the tragedy we have in recent times in our country is that we are not taking LG administration as seriously as we should take it. Every now and then I see quite a number of our brothers who are governors, sweating, trying to do their best to make sure they satisfy the people.
‘But the fact of the matter is that however they try, they cannot, they do not have the time and the capacity to reach the Local Government. So, until we return to the days of old when Local Governments are empowered financially and otherwise, we will not be able to spread the dividends of democracy deeper.
‘So, the totality of what I am saying is that we must not let our governors, our president rest until we find ways and means of making sure that we empower LGs to do what they are supposed to do.’
In his remarks, Governor Dapo Abiodun, represented by his Chief of Staff, Shuaib Salisu, called on ASELGON to come up with initiatives that could complement the existing security apparatus in the state to further nip the insecurity in the bud.
The National President of ASELGON, Albert Asipa, demanded the inclusion of former elected chairmen as automatic delegates to the National Conventions of their respective parties.
Asipa said the proposal had been submitted to the chairmen of the two leading political parties in Nigeria, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
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‘Let me say that we are not in contention with any group or individual in our quest. As you are aware, the nation’s constitution recognizes three tiers of government.
‘However, while former presidents and governors from the federal and states enjoy automatic delegates status of the national convention of political parties, elected Local government chairmen that represent the third tier are inadvertently excluded. We see this as an anomaly that deserves correction,’ he stated.
In his earlier remarks, the Ogun State Chairman of ASELGON, Emmanuel Coker, noted that members of the association ‘are often neglected in the political spectrum of our states and nation constantly and consistently discounted from political and economic consideration.’
Coker insisted that former LG chairmen form the foundation that’s ‘fundamentally important and necessary for building democracy in this country of ours.’
In his paper on Grassroots Security Networking, Major General Bamidele Shafa (retd) identified lack of political will, resistance to change, fear, inadequate remuneration and corruption as some of the limiting factors for grassroots security networking.
Shafa submitted that the establishment of grassroots security outfits would help address the menace of insecurity across the country.
Also speaking on the local government autonomy, a lecturer at the Department of Law, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Professor Bunmi Osifeso, said local government as the closest to the people must be accorded full autonomy in order for it to function optimally.
He posited that the comatose situation of the local government system has seriously hampered development at the grassroots, saying needed constitutional amendment should be ensured for both financial and administrative autonomy for the local governments.
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