—–Commend NASS over LG autonomy
—–Condemns immunity for political office holders
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
The organised labour yesterday said that the issue of devolution of power should not be left in the hands of the National Assembly alone, rather it requires a platform that will bring Nigerians together so that every discussion will be all inclusive.
The National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja while briefing journalists on the position of Labour on the constitution amendment commended the National Assembly for granting autonomy to the local government administration.
He said the local government autonomy will bring administration close to the grassroots and remove the over bearing influences of State governors.
Wabba flanked by some labour leaders including the National President of Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, SSANU, comrade Samson Chijioke Ugwoke among others condemned any from of immunity to political office holders no matter the position.
On devolution of power he said, “I have heard a lot of discourse around it and I one straight forward approach through the current process to try to address this issue has not been accommodated very well. What we need this point in time is to have a platform where a thorough discussion can go into the argument and therefore a proposal can actually flow from such a discourse because there have been a divergent view on the issue of devolution of power.
“Certainly, there are some issues we need to actually take from the center and give them to the states and local governments and this has to be holistic. I certainly agree that there are some responsibilities that we need to actually devolved but there must be a process.
“I think this process is a bit adhoc and it is not thorough to look at those issues and put it before Nigerians so that there will be a proper discuss before it then go to the process of law making but there is a need for that issue to be taken to the next level and there is a need for power to be devolved but i think the process is what needed to be revisited.
“It should be all inclusive and our take is that it should be from the people and i think not this ad-hoc means
“If you look at the submission that have been made, I think it is not all inclusive, it has not actually gotten to the root of the issue so I think that we are supporting the idea that there should be a platform to revisit this issue, and the platform should be all inclusive and then the process can flow from that level.”
He canvassed for a platform that will bring Nigerians together adding, “There may be need for a platform to be created where this discus can start before going to the National Assembly because as it is now, the entire process of constitutional amendment started with the National Assembly and their starting point was the document that was considered at the last aborted amendment, that is the document of 7th National Assembly which is not all inclusive.
“Therefore, I think it will make sense if this process is all inclusive and open so that people can also make suggestions. It shouldn’t be limited only to the issues that were canvassed in the 7th Assembly.
“This is a very sensitive issue that Nigerians need to be carried along.”
“On the issue of immunity, as NLC we have made the point very clear that the issue of immunity has not assisted to a larger extent especially in the context of transparency, accountability and the rule of law and I think that is an issue that should not arise.
“We have made statements in the recent past saying that in other spheres even Presidents, governors can also be interrogated and also prosecuted on very clear criminal issues and that has been our position. If you begin to possibly expand this issue of immunity then it will not benefit our system
“As far as I am concerned, it has been clearly proven that even after office some of those people have not demonstrated that this has been used for the benefit of Nigerians.
“Our position is that, that ought not to be and it is from the progressive position that we have made in the time past
Our position is nobody should even benefit from immunity.
“In other spheres even Presidents of countries, we have seen of recent President of United States during the case of Monica Lewis was subjected to a criminal proceeding that ought to be the issue and I think for us it is a position we have held very dear to us because all of us are one and the same under the constitution.”
While commending the National Assembly for approving immunity for local government administration, the NLC boss said, “The 8th National Assembly has made history and shall be remembered for bowing not to the insular interests but the popular wishes of the people.
“Their initiative, we believe, is an improvement on the efforts of the previous Assemblies, which goes to show that government is not only a continuum, with tenacity and requisite experience at the National Assembly, we shall get our democracy right.
“We have no doubt that if passed into Law, these amendments will free-up the local governments from the strangle-hold of state governments and widen the democratic space as well as restore the lost glory of local governments.
“The Local Government system of government known by various names, is the oldest form of administration, and sadly, the most abused and exploited in our post-colonial history.”
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