Why Reps are moving for local councils’ autonomy, by Dogara
• FG mulls removal of education from states’ control
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has reiterated the desire of the lower chamber of the National Assembly to grant financial autonomy to local councils in the ongoing move to amend the 1999 Constitution.
During a courtesy call on him by executives of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) yesterday in Abuja, Dogara said the measure remains the only way to guarantee development at the grassroots.
The speaker, who charged local council workers to step up agitation for independence, noted that no progress could be achieved at the third tier of government under this regime of interference from state governors.
He maintained that the councils must be financially and politically autonomous to trigger development in the rural areas.He refused to buy into the argument by some governors that the councils would collapse if their administration were totally left in the hands of elected chairmen. The speaker argued that the state chief executives would have “extricated themselves from blame if they let local councils free.”
The delegation commended Dogara for championing the campaign, describing him as a patriot and statesman.The union’s national president, Ibrahim Khaleel, urged the speaker to involve all stakeholders that could bring the advocacy into fruition. He pleaded that their agitation be conveyed to President Muhammadu Buhari, whom the delegation, held was in the best position to rally the support of the state governors.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government is considering the removal of education from the control of states. Though the proposal is yet to gather steam, the Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwukah, however said he would consult widely on the matter.
At a send-forth reception on Tuesday in Abuja for the immediate past Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius Okojie, the minister said he was convinced that education should be removed from the concurrent legislative list and placed on the exclusive list to allow for centralised administration.Anwukah said some of the problems facing the education sector would be better handled when centrally run.
The minister described Okojie as his very good friend with whom he had had to disagree often times in order to agree on certain issues pertaining to the areas of his jurisdiction.
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