Abuja - The National Secretary of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Alhaji Ganiyu Galadima, has urged the National Assembly to grant the local government system autonomy in the constitution.
He made the appeal in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
According to Galadima the autonomy will facilitate development at grassroots level.
He condemned the call in certain quarters that local governments should be scrapped, saying it is the tier of government accessible to the people at grassroots level.
Galadima noted that no significant improvement could be made at this level without the involvement of the local authorities.
He also asked for more power and resources to be allocated to local councils so as to enable the system operators live up to expectations of the electorate.
He lauded the National Assembly for amending the 1999 Constitution, saying constitution review is an on-going process in countries practising democracy.
"It changes as the people and the organisation interact with each other."
Galadima, however, emphasised that the process of Constitutional amendment in Nigeria is too cumbersome, considering the various interests the exercise will generate on issues that are germane to the development of the country.
"If care is not taken, some of the issues that are being listed by the National Assembly for amendment in the constitution may not see the light of the day.
"The status of Local Government is a source of concern to every Nigerian, but I find it difficult to see how the autonomy of the Local Government Areas could be restored, if the bill has to be endorsed by two thirds of the State Assemblies."
The party scribe noted with concern the influence which the state governors exerts over legislators.
"The governors are like thin gods in their respective states and they hold the state assemblies in their jugular since they approve funds for their operations.
Galadima stressed the need for all hands to be on deck to ensure that the task of restoring the status of the Local Government as a third tier of Government was accomplished.
“The challenge lies with the National Assembly as the governors will want to continue milking the local councils and will do everything to sabotage the exercise."
He insisted that some governors were opposed to the retention of the local governments as the third tier of government and would not hesitate to scrap them at all costs.