Nigerian Concord Newspaper
The Benue state chapter of the People’s Democratic Party says it wasn’t the speaker of the Benue state House of Assembly, Titus Uba or the House of Assembly that caused the failure of local government autonomy.
This was contained in a press statement signed by the State Publicity Secretary of the party in Benue, Mr. Bemgba Iortyom who accused the All Progressive Congress for causing the failure of the local government autonomy.
The statement reads:
Benue State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) views as most unfortunate a statement credited to the local chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in which it accused the Benue State House of Assembly and its Speaker, Engr. Titus Tyoapine Uba, of scuttling passage of the Local Government Autonomy Bill.
APC particularly sought in their statement to label Engr. Titus Uba as an enemy of the people over the matter, and this we understand to be motivated by politics being that he is the 2023 Governorship Candidate of our great party, and naturally a target for such attacks.
Yet, the opposition party’s diatribe is pathetically ineffective as a weapon against the weight of facts which place the blame squarely at its doorsteps for the failure of the Local Government Autonomy Bill.
According to a March 5, 2018 report carried in Vanguard Newspaper, 15 different bills on constitution amendment were sent by Nigeria’s National Assembly to the 36 states houses of Assembly, including the Local Government Autonomy Bill, which only 10 states voted on, out of which 8, Kwara, Benue, Niger, Plateau, Bauchi, Cross River, Bayelsa and Ogun states, voted in support of, while 2, Edo and Imo states, rejected it.
The report further averred that Lagos and Rivers states had not even worked on the Bill, while the remaining 24, which joined the other 10 states to transmit it to the National Assembly, said they had stepped the Bill down for further consultation.
Leadership Newspaper on 21st August 2022 reported that the Local Government Autonomy Bill was again among 44 bills on constitution amendment sent by the National Assembly to the 36 states houses of Assembly, among which 10 states: Delta, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Osun, Ogun, Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Kogi and Katsina passed it, with the remaining 26 states declining support for it.
It is the position of Benue PDP that the local APC chapter, rather than play cheaply to the gallery, ought to hide its face in shame since the failure of the Bill to scale through the legislative processes across the country is wholly the failure of their party, and this is for the following reasons;
Firstly, APC wields majority control in both chambers of the National Assembly where assent to the Bill should be galvanised and permeated down to the state assemblies.
Secondly, APC has 23 out of the 36 state houses of Assembly under its control where assent to the Local Government Autonomy Bill is being sought, yet, both in the 2018 and 2022 exercises, the Bill did not get more than 10 states supporting it.
Thirdly, out of the about 10 states which supported the Bill on both occasions in 2018 and 2022, those controlled by PDP were about half, including Benue, and with the Bill needing only 24 states to pass it, it would have been successful if the 23 APC states had given their consent to it, adding that to the passage already given by the PDP states.
In synopsis, Benue PDP holds that it is APC with majority control of the legislative arms of government, both at the national and state levels, that stands as an obstacle to Local Government Autonomy.
The minority votes of the PDP controlled states assemblies both in 2018 and 2022 failed in getting the Bill passed into law owing to lack of support from APC controlled states, and the opposition party’s confused local chapter in Benue should stop trying to be clever by half, by seeking to make a scapegoat out of the Benue State House of Assembly.
On the other allegations bothering on theft of public funds levied by Benue APC against the Ortom administration, which are quite weighty and construe punishable offences under law, we will be requiring the opposition party through its agents who levelled those allegations to prove same, and this will call for in subsequent correspondence.
Bemgba Iortyom ,
State Publicity Secretary,
PDP, Benue State.