Comrade Ambali Akeem Olatunji, National President of the National Union of
Local Government Employee (NULGE) with some interview National Assembly
correspondents in this office in Abuja, on the passage of the Local Government
Autonomy Bill by the state House of Assembly. Excerpts;
Sir, may we know your names and your position sir?
I am comrade Akeem Olatunji, I am chief servant of 774 local government council
In the Senate the deputy Senate brief us on the hurdles of the bill passed, may
enlighten us about the bill you endorsed for all the states to sign?
Let us first of all start with the historical background of why local government,
what has local mean in the past, what happen to local government, why are we
where we are . Around 1686 local government was formerly known and it was
dated back to monarchical system, you that in the past in the south east we have
the obis #39;s, in the South West we have the Alafin of Oyo,in the North we have the
Emirs and they have powers over life and death. Local government in those days
have their own security network and they also have the palace guard which is the
native police, they have tax administration and they also have the judicial
It was that time that Nigeria came in contact with modern day government, they
coordinate the traditional system, they have social security and they also local
prison for those that are terrorizing the communities.
Let us come to the colonial era, the Lord Lugard and his girlfriend Flora who
amalgamated Nigeria, in the North and west they practice direct rule, that does
not forego the initial system of government that say the traditional rule are not in
Why Local government?
-Local government is more strategic
– Local government is closer to the people
– Local government is more relevant to the people
Local government consist of villages, towns and Hamlets
All landed properties belongs to local government and in those that local
the government was in full power and this country does not have this mirage.
The Dasuki reform was created so that local government will be a full tiers of
government, and we have a health, environment, work, social, seasonal
journalist, account system and it was better amplified by Babaginda
administration, local government were directly funded and it was given
autonomy, and it was more meaningful, more bearable to Nigerian and that is the
era when Nigerians experience full empowerment.
Local government because it was fully funded it was able to supply electricity,
forcing people to go to school and they also award the best performing Chairman.
All the market, garages are sited in the local government, so why are you giving
the local government 10 and 20%.
Are you saying the Governor is in full authority over the local government System?
They have destroyed and crippled the local government System, they have breach
the Constitution and violated the right of citizens and this was achieved by the
Governor ‘s Forum.
The former Governor of Ekiti State, in this bill can we say he is the one super
powering it not to scale through?
He is a forever home Governor, he left an unpaid six months of local government
workers unpaid, He didn’t do roads, he made the poor become poorer.
How do you make those States that have not complied begin to comply?
We are not politician, we are labour leaders, some of this politician built their
houses in Dubai ,U.S.A etc but we as labour leaders, we will remain in Nigeria,
some of those who are praying to destroy this nation they shall end up destroying
themselves. I expect Peter obi the presidential candidate of the Labor party to put
a Hatch tag that says local government shall be free, I expect Atiku Abubakar to
talk on local government, and Ahmed Tinubu who fought for the youth to grab
the local government autonomy and I also expect to speak on the local
government autonomy but none of them have spoken on that, and that is where
we saw their level of unseriousness.
Presently we have 12 and half state that has complied and the government of
Buhari is running out. How do you intend to achieve this?
The biggest party which is the ruling All Progressive Congress has time to make
the local government a full autonomy, Peter obi who is for the youth but looking
at his age he is not even a youth and when this type of people are campaigning
,they become new convert and even Atiku ABUBAKAR who have contested for
three times and haven’t won, be he have not concur to this autonomy that is why
he haven’t won,so I will urge him to concur to this autonomy.
We have to wipe all of them which are anti-local government and the solution to
local government is not about age, tribe or even religion it’s about a clear vision
to fix the local government and it is the local government that can guarantee food
on the table and also the local government is closer to the people.
We have two fundamental problems in this country
– The issue of tribal sentiment, you must proudly say am a Nigerian, an Igbo man
must be able to contest in the North and also win election, I am a Yoruba man but
I must be able to contest and win elections in the East. Somebody is born, built his
house in the North when it is time to contest, he will be told to go to his state,
which is not appropriate.
Since you assume office, what’s your achievement so far?
You know I was elected in the midst of crisis and my immediate predecessor died in
– when I came in we have 50 cases in the court but today we have only five cases
– We are now able to conduct transparent election
– We have also ensure the office of the general Secretary is upgraded unlike
– We have implemented the new minimum wage for local government workers.
– We have recruited more workers in NULGE
– We have also review our financial system
– We have open NULGE Radio station
– We have paid over 40million backlog
– We have adopted expenses on burial for anyone that died in the course of duty