By Abuchi Onwumelu
The factional President of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Anambra State Chapter, Comrade Chikwelu Adigwe, has lampooned the bill sponsored by the House of Representatives member, Mr Bob Solomon, PDP, from Rivers State, seeking to abolish the third tier of government.
Comrade Adigwe who stated this at the NULGE Secretariat shortly after Workers’ Day Celebration at Dr Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka, said the lawmaker by such move, was indirectly biting the finger that fed him, pointing out that it was the local government system that provided the platform through which he attained the position.
‘The local government is the government at the grassroots because it’s the closest government to the people. Talking about scrapping local government is like scrapping the kinsmen of a community which is the bedrock on which the community stands.
‘Without the local government there won’t be state government. If local government is scrapped today, then the Solomon won’t be in the house because we’re the ones that provided the vehicle that carried him there.
‘When you consider, for example, Anambra State, where we have 176 communities, can you imagine the entire people of the communities coming to see the governor? It’s impossible.
‘In the Local government system, we have the Chairman, Councilors from different communities and wards who people can easily access, both for official or unofficial matters.
‘If we have a local government structure in place, they can create their own local police, vigilante and other security outfits. Taking away the Local government is like taking away the communities and if we’re practicing true federalism, we must practice it to the core,’ he said.
Adigwe expressed worry over what he described as apparent sabotaging of his administration by certain elements, even as he warned those involved to desist from such act which he described as distractions targeted at slowing the speed of progress of his administration.
‘Before we came on board in 2019, there had been a legal tussle between my predecessor and a certain group of people as regards to the elongation in the system.
‘My predecessor enjoyed the elongation, but my election terminated that elongation. Even after we came on board, they still continued with that case and I don’t know what they intend gaining from it because I’m not part of it.
‘It came to me as a surprise when I was served an injunction and my name was smuggled into a case I’m not a party to. Same injunction restricted me from conducting an election at local government level.
‘I view it as a sabotage because if actually you’re fighting for a just cause, and the election has taken place, that problem has been taken care of. Going ahead simply implies subjecting the workers to perpetual suffering.
‘This has been affecting the smooth running of my administration. It’s a distraction targeted at creating anarchy in the system and also destroying the existing cordial relationship with the government.
‘But we’ve been managing it. We’ve been calm because I believe that silence is the best weapon which we’ve been using and it’s been working for us. We’ve been ignoring them, knowing full well that if we react, we give them unnecessary popularity,’ he stated.
Comrade Adigwe described as politically motivated, threats by some groups to disrupt the forthcoming governorship election in the state over non conduct of local government elections.
It will be recalled that Anambra NULGE has been enmeshed in leadership crisis, resulting in a court order barring Comrade Adigwe from carrying out administrative and leadership duties in NULGE, pending the determination of a substantive suit before the court on the leadership of the union in the state.