Mohammed Aminu in Sokoto
Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Saâ€™ad Abubakar,Â thursday said the agitation for local government autonomy would amount to nothing except leaders are sincere and God-fearing.
The monarch made the remark when the National President of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Alhaji Ibrahim Khalil, paid him a courtesy call in his palace in Sokoto.
According to him, the advocacy for local government autonomy will be a mirage without a change of attitude by leaders at the grassroots.
The monarch maintained that unless the leadership fear God and do the right thing, no amount of change in the structure of governance would lead to the attainment of the set objectives.
â€œWe must change the way we handle the affairs of governance, if we are to achieve development in the country.
â€œIt is not enough to change the system without attitudinal change by leaders. What guarantee do we have that funds will not be embezzled if local government councils are granted autonomy? Therefore, leaders at the grassroots must fear God and be just to the people,â€ the monarch said.
The Sultan reiterated the commitment of the Sultanate Council to any initiative that would bring progress to the country.
In a remark, the National President of NULGE, Ibrahim Khalil, told the monarch that his visit to Sokoto, was in continuation of advocacy campaign on local government autonomy.
He noted that the National Assembly had already passed the local government bill, adding that the constitution would not be amended without the approval of two third of the state Houses of Assembly.
Khalil posited that none of the state assemblies in the Northwest assented to the bill, hence the agitation by NULGE in the zone.
He lamented that the local government system has been bastardised while funds were being diverted at the detriment of rural dwellers.
â€œWe are here to express our grievances on how local government councils are being mismanaged in Nigeria. We are really concerned because of our closeness to the grassroots.
â€œIt is worrisome that today finances of local government councils are being diverted and people are disconnected from democracy leading to mass poverty, hunger and crime,â€ Khalil added.