The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, on Monday in Abuja said it was very important that the local governments are allowed to operate independently of the state governments.
He said this was necessary in order to curb insecurity, provide jobs for the youths and boost economic activity through diversification.
“Let me say that the struggle towards freedom of the third-tier of government is not one which NULGE or indeed the local governments themselves should see as theirs alone,’’ Saraki said at the 40th anniversary of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE).
“If we are to curb insecurity, provide jobs for our teeming youths and boost economic activity through diversification, we must enable local governments operate independently of the state.
“This must come with their own budget and levels of accountability.
“As I have stated on several occasions, it is our joint responsibility to ensure that there is a symbiotic relationship between the states and local governments,’’ he added.
Saraki said if the country was to prevent unwarranted disadvantage to the third-tier of government in Nigeria, a cordial and symbiotic relationship between the second and third tiers government would suffice.
He however called for possible and necessary checks and balances that would further serve to deepen the fabric of the country’s democracy.
“There is still a lot more work to be done if we are to bring this espoused vision to reality. The constitutional amendment process is one which adopts a transformational approach to change. That is to say, a gradual process.’’
The Senate President urged members of NULGE not to be discouraged by what might seems to be a slow pace of change, saying success would still be achieved.
“This will be through continued dialogue, collaboration and partnership with relevant stakeholders, including governments. I am confident that local government autonomy will be actualised.”
Saraki then enjoined NULGE members to remain steadfast in their quest to attain financial autonomy for local governments in Nigeria.
He assured of the continued commitment of the 8thNational Assembly to strengthening the local government institutions.