The Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Smart Adeyemi, has vowed to spearhead nationwide protests to resist moves by state governors to oppose Local Governments’ autonomy.
Senator Adeyemi, who issued the threat while briefing newsmen in Abuja on Sunday, said it was unconstitutional for the governors not to allow the councils to have autonomy in the management of their finances.
“He condemned statements by the Chairman of the Governors’ Forum, Gov. Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers that the governors would oppose the entrenchment of local governments in the constitution.
“He insisted that the local government was the only tier of government that had direct bearing on the lives of people at the grassroots.
“Mr. Adeyemi said: “We will do everything possible to resist any attempt to stop the third tier of government from being entrenched in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We the people will rise against that move. I will join other stakeholders, including Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees, to go on a nationwide demonstration.
“I speak this not only as a senator. I speak this as a journalist and as a former labour leader. So let nobody think about a two-tier system of government.
“If you make any attempt to expunge or to reduce the power of the local government, then it is to prepare for anarchy in a few years to come,’’ he said.
Senator Adeyemi commended Mr. Amaechi for the financial support he was giving to local government under his administration.
He urged Amaechi to task the other governors to also provide financial independence to the local governments in their respective states.
According to him, there will have been no clamour for financial autonomy to the local governments if the governors emulated the effort of their counterpart in Rivers.
“I want you (Amaechi) to ask your colleagues if they are doing what you are doing. If they are not doing that, then you know there is a reason for us to be concerned.
“But if other governors are adding more to the allocations of local government areas, then we have no business even discussing the autonomy in the first instance.
“It pays you people (the governors) to allow the three tiers of government to survive or else you will not sleep with your two eyes closed.’’
Mr. Adeyemi linked the increasing level of unemployment and poverty to the governors who had refused to create opportunities for people to engage in meaningful socio-economic activities.
“You have an army of highly educated people who are not employed roaming the streets, capable of causing a revolution.
“Your colleagues are not doing what you are doing. If local governments are properly managed, they can provide succour for many people who look confused today.’’
He restated the resolve of the National Assembly to promote good governance and the protection of human rights toward projecting a positive image of the country in the comity of nations.