Blame states, not National Assembly, for delayed LGs autonomy – Gbajabiamila

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has stated that the state Houses of Assembly and not the National Assembly should be held responsible for the delayed autonomy for local governments in Nigeria.

Gbajabiamila recalled how the 8th National Assembly passed a bill to grant autonomy to the LGs but the proposal did not get the nod of two-thirds of the states to scale through.

The Speaker made this known in Abuja on Monday when answering questions from journalists, when he was at a leadership training sponsored by the Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu, for council chairmen and councillors from Delta State.

Gbajabiamila was asked what the federal parliament was doing to prevent the third tier of government from going into extinction.

He said, “It is not for us as legislators (of the National Assembly) to do that. I am sure you are surprised, but it is actually for the people to address, the reason being that we have a constitutional amendment, we will throw it to the people and they will make their decision.

“We did it the last time but we went back to the states and we couldn’t get two-thirds. There is a process; we followed due process. We amended it (the Constitution) the last time but two-thirds of the states did not agree with us.

“So, it is the people that will decide whether they want autonomy or not. We will do what we need to do as the Constitution provides.”

The Speaker expressed his belief that at the end of the training, the council officials would have received a lot of education on what leadership is all about.

“Some people are born leaders, some learn to acquire leadership but either way; whether you are born a leader or you acquire it, you have to go do that training exercise to be able to use your experiences and qualities you have in order to maximise your skills. And what better place to start than with the local government councillors? As you all know, that is the bedrock of our society,” Gbajabiamila noted.

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