Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says he is “crippled” at the moment, but he still retains the power to use his voice to draw attention to those who approach him for assistance.
Speaking on Wednesday when he received the leadership of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) at his Hilltop Mansion in Abeokuta, Ogun state capital, the statesman expressed the wish to help the union, which sought his intervention for the revival of the local government structure.
Obasanjo accused state governments of incapacitating local councils, wondering whether states could allow the federal government do the same to them.
“There is no exception to this bastardisation and encroachment by states. Even though both are supposed to be separate tiers of government, with each having its roles and functions, that is not the case anymore,” he said.
“I wish I could help, but I am helpless. As it is, I can only help you to shout and talk to the world. I do not have any executive or legislative power. I am crippled.
“But we shall continue to talk until those who are reasonable among them change this attitude.
“I begin to wonder if they (states) can allow what they are doing to the local governments to be done to them.”
Speaking earlier, Ibraheem Khaleel, NULGE president, said the union had come to enlist the support of the elder statesman in rescuing the local government system.
“As a major player in the 1976 local government reform, we are aware that the mission was to make the councils independent,” he said.
“But the situation has changed and the states have rendered the local governments impotent. As things are now, the governors cannot not do anything, that is why we decided to come to you to use your experience and not to allow the local government system go into extinction.
Source: The Cable