Delegates representing the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) at the ongoing National Conference have objected to the recommendations of the conference Committee on Political Restructuring to scrap the third tier of government from the concurrent list of the constitution.
The leader of the delegation and former National President of ALGON, Dr Felix Akhabue, who addressed journalists yesterday at the venue of the conference said those calling for the scrapping of local government administration are enemies of the people.
He reassured the people that the recommendations would be defeated when the conference reconvenes at the plenary. He said delegates would resist the recommendations, adding that rather than scraping local government administration, the committee should recommend ways to strengthen it.
Akhabue, instead, urged the conference to scrap state electoral commissions and allow the federal body, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to conduct free and credible local government elections.
He also called on the delegates to ensure that local government administration gets direct funding from the federation account if they want fast development to get to the people.
"Let me believe that it is still a rumour. What I know is that the local government is the only arm that is closer to the people. All the recommendations of previous conferences and committees have advocated for the strengthening of the local government in Nigeria.
"When members of the National Assembly went round the whole country and sampled the opinions of Nigerians, more than 80 percent said local government administration should be strengthened. So, it is funny for just 25 people to sit and agree that the tier should be scrapped.
What power have they to do that? We are holding trust on behalf of the people.
"When you talk about democracy, how many people can get to states and the federal government? Local government is the closest to the people and Nigerians are saying they want it strengthened. What we should do is how to ensure that INEC conducts local government elections in all the states of the federation in order to ensure free and fair elections.”
According to him, "Local government should be given full autonomy and get their allocations directly from the federal government. That is the only way to ensure that they deliver and not call for it to be scrapped. We will do all we can to ensure that the third tier of government is strengthened for the benefit of the people."