The National Assembly may have bowed to pressure from state Governors to abandon the Local Government autonomy Bill as it has directed the Clerk to forward only 35 out of the 44 bill listed for amendment in constitution to President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent, leaving nation’s local governments will continue to suffer and suffocate in the hands of state governors
The National Assembly had proposed the autonomy of local governments in the 44 constitution amendment bills forwarded to state houses of assembly for concurrence in March 2022.
But after several months of refusal by some state assemblies to return the bill, the National Assembly has directed its Clerk, Sani Tambuwal, to as a matter of urgency, transmit the 35 bills that have so far met the requirement of the provision of Section 9(2) of the Constitution to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent in line with the provisions of the Acts Authentication Act.
The directive indicates therefore that the national assembly has given up on tnine bills, including local government autonomy which were rejected by the states, with only 27 out of the 36 state assemblies voting for the 35 items
The complete exclusion of financial and administrative autonomies for local government councils was lost out.
According to the national assembly the State Houses of Assembly that were yet to forward their resolutions included Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kwara, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, and Zamfara.
The National Assembly has also asked the remaining nine state Houses of Assembly that were yet to forward their resolutions on the constitutional amendment bills to do so in order to fulfil their constitutionally imposed legislative obligation.
This Senate directive followed a motion titled, “Passage of Constitution( Fifth) Alteration Bill’s, 2023 sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central) and supported by 65 other Senators.
The motion was presented at the Chamber by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central) on behalf of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege who, as Deputy President of the Senate, Chairs the Senate Committee on Constitution Review.
The Senator Omo-Agege led joint ad hoc committee on constitution review had in October last year slammed the governors for not allowing the various state assemblies from concurring with constitution amendments proposals for Financials and Administrative autonomies for the 774 local government councils.
The Committee had threatened the governors that it would mobilise the organised labour, particularly local government employees, against the various state governments on the bills for the required concurrence.