- A group, Akwa Ibom Liberation Movement, says the local government autonomy bill is not in the best interest of Akwa Ibom people
- The social political group says the reality on ground makes its implementation near impossible in the state
- According to the group, the amended law is idealistic and will fail because it ignores present realities
Akwa Ibom Liberation Movement (AILM) has given reasons why the local government autonomy bill recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, may not be in the best interest of Akwa Ibom state and its people.
The socio-political group stated that while it appears ideal to grant financial and administrative autonomy to local government areas, the reality on ground makes its implementation near impossible.
According to a statement released by the leader of the group, Prince Emmanuel Sam, the amended law is idealistic and will fail because it ignores present realities.
Prince Sam pointed out that the new law throws up a set of challenges in local government administration which he said must be resolved in order not to bring chaos, conflict and insecurity in Akwa Ibom state.
He disclosed that from its preliminary research the organization found out that there was no thorough assessment of the economic impact the development will have on states.
He continued: “What happens to states like Lagos with 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) which are not recognized by the constitution. Will the LCDAs, which brought government to the grassroots cease to exist as they cannot benefit from federal allocation?
“Similarly, in Akwa Ibom state, it is a known fact that some local government areas especially the 10 foremost LGAs would be rendered non-viable with overstretched wage-bills due to over bloated workforce.
“That there is serious threat of massive job cuts in local government areas as fallout of this development. Just as one State cannot transfer its workers to other states, local governments will not accept indigenes of other local governments.
“In Uyo local government area for instance, over 70% of primary school teachers and primary health workers serving there are not indigenes. As a result of autonomy, Uyo LG authorities can decide to reject non-indigenes posted to them by the local government service commission. And, then employ only indigenes strictly on need basis.”
Prince Sam expressed concern that some local government areas including Ikot Ekpene, Abak, Uyo, Eket, Oron and others with overstretched workforce may still be unable to carter for monthly wage-bill even if it comes directly from federal allocation coupled with aggressive revenue generation.
He maintained that it reeks of double standard on the part of federal government to hurriedly sign local government autonomy bill into law whereas it is shying away from addressing a fundamental matter such as federalism that affects the very existence of the country.
He urged the incoming 7th Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly to carefully weigh all pros and cons of the law as it affects the state before ratifying it.
“The state legislature should not be in a hurry to domesticate the law because it is not enough to legislate on a law of such heavy consequence without measures taken to ensure smooth implementation,” he warned.
Furthermore, he advised Akwa Ibom people to ignore mischief makers who are trying to reap cheap political capital out of the difficult situation but continue to support the governor
“We recently re-elected Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel for a second term in office being satisfied by his performance during his first term and trusting his capacity to handle tough financial and socio-economic challenges.
“Let us all continue to support him as he pursues options that will best serve our long-term and collective interest,” he added.
Meanwhile, Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom, has stated that he is not against local government autonomy as being reported in a section of the media.
The governor made the clarification on Sunday, June 2, via a statement sent to Legit.ng by his chief press secretary, Terver Akase.
The statement noted that Governor Ortom is one of the governors who supported constitutional amendment granting local governments autonomy.
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