By Lola Seriki- Idahosa, Trace Reporters –The Partnership to Engage Reform and Learn (PERL) has tasked community development champions (CDCs), media, women groups, people with disabilities and other stakeholders to appeal to members of the Kaduna State House of Assembly to vote “YES” in favour of constitutional amendment for legislative and local government autonomy.
In a one day session with Stakeholders to influence the consideration and ratification of the constitutional amendment held at Bafra International Hotel on 21st April 2022.
Speaking on a topic, “Brief Overview of the Constitutional Amendment Process, PERL State Team Lead,  Abel Adejor said that the bill is expected to be passed by the Senate, comprising  72 Senators and House of Representatives, with 240 members as well as two third of the state assemblies, which is 24 out of 36 states.
He urged Stakeholders to reach out to their various members of state houses of assembly, tell them to vote in favour of  amendment of the constitution for autonomy for the legislative and local government areas.
According to Mr. Abel, “we must ensure we lobby all the key stakeholders,
we are doing this to ensure we lobby members of our states assembly to vote yes,” he said.
He said that out of the 68  bills advocated by PERL, only 44 passed and are set for amendments. “44 out of the 68 bills passed for amendment, some were dropped, like that of state’s creation,” he said.
He said another important bill PERL is looking at is the legislature and legislative bureaucracy.
“The bill seeks to recognize the state’s assembly legislative service commission just like the civil service and judicial service commissions to provide operational modalities.
“PERL like in previous years, is working with critical partners and stakeholders to champion advocacy for the ratification of the critical bills by the state houses of assembly especially the bill that would increase functionality of the LG systems through financial and administrative Autonomy as well as other bills.
He commended the media for playing an important role in shaping and guiding discourse on constitution review and explaining how it affects citizens.
The PERL team lead said, “This platform could generate healthy debate around constitution amendments, enable the legislature to be acquiesced of citizen preferences and increase political participation in a manner that deepens democracy,” he said.
The Local Government Autonomy Bill is one that is of great importance for the advancement of the local governments, since it is the closest government to the people in the grassroots.

PERL went further to highlight some of the benefits of the financial autonomy of the local governments in the country.

 

The bill will repeal the state joint local government account and provide for a special account where all allocations due to the local governments councils, from the federation account and state government shall be paid. With this bill, each local government council will be able to create and maintain its own special account to be called Local Government Allocation Account into which all the allocations will be paid. The bill also will enable the local governments to generate their own revenue as approved by the state assembly and also allow local governments to conduct their own elections.

 

Will have control over its own funds, the local governments will then be able to wholesomely create jobs for the citizens in each of the local governments. More jobs means more access to food. Local governments will be able to plan and build infrastructures. The local government will have direct access to their finances with which to use to implement policies and decisions that will promote grassroots development, he added.”

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