Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has promised to look into insures of non-payment of salaries and other emoluments to workers of the state’s 18 local government councils, thereby creating bottlenecks in the third tier of government in the recent times.
Receiving executive members of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), on a solidarity visit to the Government House, Benin City, the governor expressed sympathy to council workers, assuring them of his administration’s decision to take urgent constitutional measures to review issues of staffing and liabilities, which have adversely affected the management of council funds.
He also assured the union of his readiness to engage in dialogue with council authorities and other relevant stakeholders to address all industrial issues relating to staff emoluments noting his intention to stop sustaining local government councils with bailout.
Meanwhile, the governor admonished the union to always thread the path of peace and embrace industrial harmony, stressing that a harmonization bill had been sent to the Edo State House of Assembly for review and confirmation especially on issues of revenue generation and other economic matters that affect both the state and local governments.
According to a statement by John Mayaki, Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Obaseki explained that the position of the law is clear is clear on the issue of local government autonomy.
He noted however that the state is empowered to assess the assets and liabilities of councils to foster monitoring transparency and accountability.
Reacting, the State President of NULDGE, Edo State, Comrade Edward Young Ilenikhena, while congratulating the governor on his victory at the polls, assured him of the union’s preparedness to partner and work with his administration to enhance efficiency in local government administration.
He listed some of the group’s challenges to include unpaid salaries of between three and 13 months by the immediate past administration, local government allocation figures, funding of primary education by local governments, instead of state and autonomy of local government among others.
He however, appealed to the state government to quicken the process of resolving the acrimony between local and the state governments.