The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Labour Party (LP), have decried the Benue State House of Assembly’s vote against Local Government Autonomy as a show of disconnect between the assembly members and the plight of people at the grassroots which they are representing.
“It also goes to show that members of the current Benue State House of Assembly dominated by the PDP have deliberately refused to have anything positive to do with history and posterity which ironically is the desire of every public official.”
In their separate reactions over the development in a statement in Makurdi, the State Publicity Secretly of APC, Mr Daniel Ihomum, noted that over the years, Local Government systems in Nigeria have been gagged, annexed and destroyed by the State Governors across the country.
“Local Government tier have been unable to carry out their roles as specified in the Constitution of Nigeria, thereby, reducing their powers, performance and development at the grassroots.
“Local Governments have become like Bureau, departments and agencies of the State Governments and turned into milk factories. They do not only appoint their cronies as transitional, caretaker Chairmen, the State and Local governments’ Joint Account which was created to share Internally Generated Revenue collected by the States on behalf of councils has become the umbilical cord used by governors for suckling councils Allocation sent from the Federation Account.”
According to Mr Ihomun, the deliberate refusal by Mr Titus Uba, led the Benue State House of Assembly to liberate the local government system from the draconian grip of the governor shows its disdain, lack of empathy and concern for the development of the Local Government Areas and the people at the grassroots.
He expressed shock that the people who were elected to represent the people at the grassroots in the Benue State House of Assembly are rather conniving with the State Government and enemies of the people to perpetually enslave the Local Government and by extension the Benue people through their vote against Local Government Autonomy.
“Their actions are not only insensitive to the plight of the people but are callous, undemocratic, and wicked. Their decision explains why they look the other way while funds meant for the administration and development of local governments in Benue state have not been visible in the development of the councils.”
The statement insists that the local government system in Benue state has collapsed except for a few where the governor is seeking favours for his senatorial ambition.
In its reaction, the Labour Party, said since the advent of the Samuel Ortom administration, again, “they murdered hope, buried sanity and added, through the Benue State House of Assembly, a feather to its infamous cap of derogatory achievements by voting against Local Government autonomy.
“Like every other detrimental act they’ve carried out, this latest coup was hatched and delivered in antiseptic fashion by the PDP majority-led House of Assembly under the leadership and guidance of Rt. Hon. Titus Uba, their Governorship candidate.”
The Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kengkeng Ati, pointed out that it is the third time that the Benue State House of Assembly has had to vote on Local Government Autonomy.
“In the past 2 outings, the assembly had voted in favour of autonomy. This time, the House is said to have received 66 constitution alteration bills from the National Assembly. Of particularly heightened interest to the public has been the autonomy of Local Governments, State Assemblies and the Judiciary.
“This deadly blow to the growth of the Local Government system speaks of the ill desire of the Ortom administration to continue to pontificate and superintend over the funds and welfare of the third tier of Government. The bottlenecks and booby traps domiciled in the Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs that have turned it into a financial powerhouse and favourite EFCC customer shall remain with us for a while if Uba and the PDP are not voted out of office come 2023.”
The Labour Party in Benue State is, therefore, calling on the Titus Uba-led House of Assembly to, as a matter of urgent public importance, summon the House to apologise to Benue people and also rescind what it referred to as ‘anti-people verdict’ with a unanimous and overwhelming yes to the Local Government Autonomy question.
However, the Benue State PDP in a swift reaction, says it read a statement from the Labour Party in the state in which Governor Samuel Ortom and State Assembly Speaker, Titus Uba were accused of being responsible for the latest failure of the Local Government Autonomy Bill.
It said the bill was for the third time in less than a decade sent to the 36 states’ Houses of assembly.
“If APC which also wields majority membership control in both chambers of the National Assembly, is favourably disposed to the autonomy of the local government tier of administration in the country, then its 23 states would have done the job with ease, needing just one assenting vote from the opposition.”
The PDP State Publicity Secretary, Bemgba Iortyom, in a statement in Makurdi, asked how then does just the single vote of the Benue State legislature become so decisive in this equation, as LP wants Benue people to think?
He accused the APC leadership of being behind the delay of the passage of the local government autonomy bill over the years.