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LG workers disrupt Ondo Assembly sitting; threaten ‘no autonomy, no 2023 elections’

  • Politics

Local government workers in Ondo have threatened to disrupt the 2023 general elections in the state if they were not granted autonomy before the exercise.  

The workers made the threats on Tuesday evening after shutting down the Ondo State House of Assembly in a massive protest. 

The aggrieved workers under the auspices of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) also disrupted the sitting of the State lawmakers for several hours. 

Their action was sequel to the alleged pressure mounted on the lawmakers to vote against autonomy for the local government in the state. 

The workers carried placards bearing different inscriptions such as: “Yes to LG autonomy”, “Yes to judicial autonomy”, “No autonomy, No Vote” and “On autonomy we stand” among others.

Many of the workers, who took turns to speak, said they would use their voting powers to reject any lawmaker or political party that would deny them autonomy in the constitution. 

On Monday, rumour was rife in the state that the executive arm mounted pressure on the parliamentarians to vote against autonomy for the local government in the constitution being reviewed by the national assembly. 

Peoples Gazette learned that Monday’s sitting of the lawmakers turned rowdy at the hallowed chamber of the State House of Assembly as members deliberated whether or not the issue of autonomy for LG should be jettisoned. 

The situation, The Gazette further gathered, led to a shouting match between some of the lawmakers that were present during the parliamentary sitting. 

Speaking during Tuesday’s protest, the national vice president of NULGE, Abimbola Babalola, said that the workers were ready to wait for next year’s elections to vent their anger if LG autonomy does not become law in the state. 

Mr Babalola, who insisted that the system of the local government must be autonomous, noted that this would bring about growth and development to the grassroots. 

“So, No autonomy, no election in Ondo state in the forthcoming general election,” he told journalists. 

Mr Babalola added that sixteen states in the federation had so far signed the autonomy bill into law, stressing that Ondo should not be an exception. 

Bola Taiwo, Ondo Chairman of NULGE, said the workers would continue to paralyse social and political activities in the state if the lawmakers would refuse to pass the bill into law. 

Mr Taiwo also threatened that the workers would continue to shut down the State House of Assembly complex if they also failed to yield their demands. 

Bamidele Oleyeloogun, speaker of the Ondo Assembly, was not at the premises of the complex at the time of the protest staged by the angry local government workers.  

But the two lawmakers present, Feyide Oluyede (Ose) and Tomide Akinribido (Ondo West), who attended to the protestors, however, denied any pressure on the parliamentarians to vote against the LG autonomy bill.