Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, stated that local government administration was getting worse in Nigeria, adding that the survival rests on divine intervention.
He lamented that most of the councils could not even afford a grader for roads and perform other functions highlighted by the 1976 Local Government Reform.
In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, the Owu chief urged the council workers to be prayerful for things to get better.
The ex-Nigerian leader, who received the new National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) president, Comrade Akeem Olatunji Ambali at his Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Penthouse home, regretted that the reform had been allegedly abused by state governors.
He said: “I am of the view that the situation needs prayers. A situation whereby a local government cannot even afford a grader to make local roads motorable, a situation where they can not build hospital or provide for the educational needs of their people is not what we want the local government to be when we were creating the 1976 Reform
“Well, the rot actually started with the military, which wanted to have such local councils in their respective areas. This increased the number to 774 from about 300.
“But, the politicians further made it worse with corruption. These were not what we envisioned when we created local government reform in 1976. Local governments were to provide overall quality of life for the people who reside in their communities. But is that what we have now?”
Earlier, Ambali had intimated Obasanjo on recent happenings, disclosing that the union needed his contribution on the planned delisting of local government from the 1999 Constitution (as amended) by the National Assembly.
He described the bill as an attempt to kill local government administration in the country.
According to him, union leaders have been mandated to engage lawmakers in their constituencies on the need for them to stand with the people.
His words: “Delisting the local government from the constitution is grievous. Even with it still functional, they capitalise on the lacuna in Section 7 (6 A&B), which permits the Houses of Assembly to legislate and appropriate funds for local governments, to (allegedly) mismanage local government funds.
“If they can perpetuate this (alleged) illegality despite the constitutional provisions, it will be worse when local government is delisted. This is because money meant for development at the grassroots will be credited to the state government and governors. Then, nobody will be responsible for the growth and development of the local government.”
He continued: “We decided to come and inform you about this inhumane step towards a system, which you genuinely created in 1976. It will rubbish the good intentions that you had and completely mess up the councils.”