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Osun Assembly Saves LG Councils From Allocation Shortfall

Osun Assembly Saves LG Councils From Allocation Shortfall
  • PublishedMay 26, 2020

By Ismaeel Uthman

The State of Osun House of Assembly has wiped away the tears of some local government councils which are hitherto badly hit by incessant shortfall in accruable allocation as a result of the implementation of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) financial autonomy regulations.

The NFIU policy directed that the allocations of every local government must be paid directly into their various accounts.

Each of the local governments is expected to carry its financial burden with the available allocation, following the rejection of the Joint Allocation Council by the NFIU.

The development had resulted in serious financial stress for some local government councils, especially those in urban centres in the state; as they have huge monthly expenditures far higher than the accruable allocation.

The affected local governments have constantly been receiving insufficient allocation in which the amount paid into their various account is far below their compulsory monthly expenditure and bills.

But the House Assembly, through legislation on Thursday has created a special account called ‘The State and Local Governments Joint Project Account’ in which the local and state governments would have contributions for the purpose of financing joint projects.

The House of Assembly passed into law a bill to amend the State of Osun Local Government Areas Creation and Administration Law 2015 and other connected matters.

According to the passed bill, the salary and allowances of Primary School teachers and local government staff shall be paid as first line charge from the entire aggregate allocation of the local governments in the state before sharing.

Consequently, no local government will individually be paying the salaries of its teachers and staff, as it would now be paid from the joint account.

The passed bill, State of Osun Local Government Areas Creation and Administration Amendment (NO. 4) 2020, sponsored by Hon. Femi Popoola, the Deputy Speaker and member representing Boripe/Boluwaduro State Constituency and co-sponsored by Hon. Maruf Olanrewaju, the Majority Leader and member representing Irewole/Isokan State Constituency will curb the excesses of the Parliamentarians at the Local Government.

Reactions have begun to trail a bill presented to the State of Osun House of Assembly to change the parliamentary system at the Local Government.

The bill being sponsored by Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon Femi Popoola and Majority Leader of the House, Hon Maruf Olanrewaju seeks to have elections of Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of Local Government Councils conducted separately from that of the councilors.

In the current parliamentary system, Chairman and Vice Chairman of the council are chosen from the councilors who have won elections in their various wards.

But the Bill, named State of Osun Local Government Areas Creation and Administration Amendment Bill No.4, 2020, is passed into law would scrap all the parliamentary system element in the local government and restore in full capacity the presidential system.

It is also stated in the bill that no payment shall be regarded as statutory payment from the allocation of the local governments unless it has been legislated by the House of Assembly.

The Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon Timothy Owoeye stated that the passed bill will eradicate the issue of zero allocation to some councils in the state.

Owoeye noted that there shall be equitable allocation to local governments in the state, stating that the position of the State Assembly is in tandem with the 1999 Constitution.

Citing Section 162 (8) of 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, Owoeye said: “The amount standing to the credit of local government councils of a State shall be distributed among local government councils of that State on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly of the State.”

The bill also restrained the grassroots parliamentarians from removing the chairman of the local council as the power to remove, suspend or any other recommendations now rests solely on the State House of Assembly.

Owoeye maintained that the amendment was necessitated because of incessant agitations by the Parliamentarians to remove the Chairman.

He noted that various councils in the state have witnessed series of crises resulting from moves by councillors wanting to unseat the Chairman, saying the amendment will promote peace and harmony; thus allowing for focused leadership at the Local Government Areas.

He stressed that, Order 39 C that stipulates that a Chairman, Vice-chairman, Leader or Deputy-Leader can be removed from office by a resolution of the council by the votes of not less than two third majority forwarded to the House of Assembly within seven days has been suspended.

The speaker said: “The State House of Assembly shall after necessary investigations, remove, suspend or make any other recommendations as it thinks fit on any Chairman, Secretary to the Local Government or official including career officers of any Local Government Area, Local Council Development Area and Area Council in the state in the interest of peace, order and good governance of the state.”

However, Owoeye stated that the amendment of the bill is in no way shielding Chairman of any council but to promote focused leadership and peace at the Local Government.

The Speaker pointed out that the House of Assembly will not hesitate to wield the big stick on any Chairman found wanting.


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