The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Anambra state has described as politically motivated threats by some groups to disrupt the forthcoming governorship election in the state over non conduct of that of local government
The President, Chikwelu Adigwe who stated this weekend in a press briefing, alleged selfish interests behind such protests, which he said would soon fizzle out with time.
He said, “Those groups are politically motivated. When they’re in power, they’ll just go to their bedroom and sleep. Local government election is long overdue in the entire 36 states of the country.
“That’s why the union is advocating for local government autonomy. If it’s granted, our election will be conducted at the same time by the INEC and not even state electoral Commission.
“The motive behind some of groups must be considered. When their political party is in power, their agitations will cease. If their agitations are actually genuine, there are many ways to drive a process.
“During constitution amendment, such agitations can be raised and be joined in the financial autonomy clamour. Sensitization is key in this struggle. Once the market women for example, know the importance of local government autonomy, then all other things will fall into place”
Adigwe also berated the bill sponsored by the House of Representatives member, Mr Bob Solomon, PDP from Rivers State seeking to abolish the third tier of government.
He said the lawmaker by such move was indirectly biting the finger that fed him, stressing that it was the local government system that provided the platform through which he attained the position.
He said, “I’m aware that that motion is being championed at the House of Representatives by Hon. Solomon Bob from Ahoda East constituency in Rivers State. A reasonable person should be talking about scrapping the state government and not the local government.
“Local government is the government at the grassroots because it’s the closest government to the people. Talking about scrapping local government is like scrapping kinsmen of a community which is the bedrock on which the community stands.
“Without the local government there won’t be state government. If local government is scrapped today, then the Solomon won’t be in the house because we’re the ones that provided the vehicle that carried him there.
“When you consider for example Anambra state where we have 176 communities, can you imagine the entire people of the communities coming to see the governor? It’s impossible.
“In the Local government system, we have the Chairman, Councilors from different communities and wards who people can easily access both for official or unofficial matters.
“If we have local government structure in place, they can create their own local police, vigilante and other security outfits. Taking away the Local government is like taking away the communities and if we’re practicing true federalism, we must practice it to the core.”
Expressing worry over apparent sabotaging of his administration by certain elements, the NULGE boss warned those involved to desist from such act which he described as distractions targeted at slowing the speed of progress of his administration.
He added, “Before we came on board in 2019, there has been a legal tussle between my predecessor and certain group of people as regards to the elongation in the system.
“My predecessor enjoyed the elongation, but my election terminated that elongation. Even after we came on board, they still continued with that case and I don’t know what they intend gaining from it because I’m not part of it.
“It came to me as a surprise when I was served an injunction and my name was smuggled into a case I’m not a party to. Same injunctions restricted me from conducting an election at local government level.
“I view it as a sabotage because if actually you’re fighting for a just cause, and the election has taken place, that problem has been taken care of. Going ahead simply implies subjecting the workers to perpetual suffering.
“This has been affecting the smooth running of my administration. it’s a distraction targeted at creating anarchy in the system and also destroying the existing cordial relationship with the government.
“But we’ve been managing it. We’ve been calm because I believe that silence is the best weapon which we’ve been using and it’s been working for us. We’ve been ignoring them knowing full well that if we react, we give them unnecessary popularity.”