Reactions trail Supreme Court judgment on local government autonomy in Kwara

Reactions have trailed the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on the vexed issue of local government autonomy delivered on Thursday.

Recall that the court, aside from granting full autonomy to the local governments in the country, also ordered the Federal government to stop allocations to local governments without democratically elected council officials.

Amid jubilation among local government staff and residents of Ilorin, Kwara State capital, a Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Lasisi.A.K.Jimoh, described the judgment as long overdue.

“If the constitution says the existence of a democratically elected local government is constitutionally guaranteed, then where do you have a caretaker and payments being channelled through state governments to local governments?

“The constitution also states that the local government is the third tier of government, will one tier be under another tier, and is the state under the federal government.?

“I expected the judgment to go a bit further to pronounce emphatically that there cannot be a caretaker committee under the constitution which we are operating now because a caretaker committee is not a local government,” Lasisi declared.

In his reaction, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Babatunde Muhammed, said the judgement was long expected.

“In Kwara State now, for the past five years, our highly respected Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq’s government, has refused to conduct local government elections.

“For the past five years, this is the first time in the history of the state that we have unelected council officials running the affairs of the 16 local governments in the state.”

Babatunde argued that the inability of the local governments in the state to get their allocations directly from the federal government has constituted a serious setback to the development of the third tier of government.

“I was opportune to contest and be elected as a councillor here in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara state in 1990. Our election was handled by the National Electoral Commission, and our monthly allocations came directly from the federal government to the local governments.

“We spent three years during our tenure between 1991 to 1993 and local governments were able to embark on many laudable projects beneficial to the people at the grassroots.”

The PDP chairman, said his then council chairman, Architect Olukayode Abogunrin, performed creditably well constructing enviable projects including the Share-Oke-Ode road bridge with just N7m from allocations directly received from the federal government.

He commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the Attorney General of the federation, for taking up the matter from the Appeal court to the Supreme Court to ensure that the local government autonomy becomes a reality as expected by Nigerians.

On his part, Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, Kwara state, Oyinlade Seun, said “We are overwhelmed as we declared fasting and prayers since Wednesday and Thursday on the autonomy issue.

“We are sure our governor will comply with the judgment to give true and pure autonomy to the local governments in the state to guarantee grassroots development.

Oyinlade asserted that with the full autonomy now granted the local governments, the issues of insecurity, food insecurity and other things hindering development at the third tier of government will become a thing of the past.

Reactions trail Supreme Court judgment on local government autonomy in Kwara

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