Local Governments Are Foundation Of Democracy -Akpabio Tells Councillors
…Urges Them To Support President Tinubu
KINGSLEY BENNETH, ABUJA
ABUJA: President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has said that the local government areas are the foundation of democracy and any politician that ignores it, does so at his or her peril, explaining that councillors play an important role in the political system.
He stated this on Thursday when he was invested as the Grand Patron of the National Councillors Forum of Nigeria in his office by the leadership of the Forum led by its chairman, Hon. Yusuf Shuaibu Babawapa.
Akpabio told the Councillors that as leaders, who are closer to the people, their support was indispensable as they help those of them at the national level to take care of issues at the grassroots.
The Senate President said he was delighted to be made the Grand Patron of the National Councillors Forum of Nigeria and pledged to work closely with them to put in place enduring laws for the development of the nation.
According to him, “you are the people that are giving us the backing to be able to deliver at the national level. You are closer to the people of Nigeria and you feel their pulse and pains because you are the people they contact everyday- people who want to go to hospitals, people whose wives want to deliver, people looking for school fees, and even those who want to do burials, you’re the first port of call.
“ I’m very delighted and not only glad that you are making me your National Patron, but that you have connected with the centre. The National Assembly is the highest lawmaking body in Nigeria and the councillors are with the grassroots
“I want to assure you that politics starts from the grassroots and if you don’t know it, the example that APC showed either last year or early this year will prove to you that the grassroots is important, where a small ward in a village, suspended the national chairman of the party and they went to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court affirmed that decision”.
“The implication is that politics is from home. So, I often don’t like people who come to Abuja and say they can win the six geo-political zones and the state is not a problem. When you see people talking like that, know that they are Abuja politicians”.
Akpabio promised that the Senate would collaborate with the councillors in the area of lawmaking, advising them to be part of public hearings in order to make their inputs.
“Most of the time, we carry out a lot of public hearings before we make laws. So, I would like to have memoranda from you so that you can take up a very robust debate at the level of public hearing. We are going to consult you on any law that will affect you.
“We would also like to invite you to most of our public hearings to have your views and input. So, I support you and I want to assure you of my support and that of the Senate and National Assembly”, he declared.
The Senate President also called on the Councillors to support the administration of President Bola Tinubu saying, “the Renewed Hope Agenda is real. Please, support President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and I want you to know that once you’re elected President of the country; from the time you become president, you are now partyless; your constituency is now Nigeria.
“That’s why he is president whatever anybody says, no matter what press conferences anybody address and any person who contest with him must realize that he is now President of Nigeria and it is his responsibility to even protect the protesters.
“It is his responsibility to impact all Nigerians irrespective of who voted for him. So, the Renewed Agenda is real and with your support from the grassroots we shall get to the promised land”.
He informed the Councillors that under his leadership, the Senate was working as one, saying, “we may be elected on a different platform but once you are elected, you are a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that is the spirit. All of you sitting here are not from the same political party but committed to one cause, to ensure that the Councillors must have a voice in the politics of the nation,” he stated.
Earlier, the Chairman of the National Councillors Forum of Nigeria, Hon. Yusuf Shuaibu Babawapa, said they decided to invest the Grand Patron of the body in the Senate President, because of his antecedents as a former Commissioner for Local Governments in Akwa Ibom and as governor of the state.
“We come to congratulate you on your election as Senate President. As you know we are grassroots politicians and we are closer to the people. We are here to make you our Grand Patron because as Commissioner for Local Government in Akwa Ibom State, you performed very well. As governor, you did a lot in assisting the local government and we are happy that you are now the Senate President”.
The Councillors were accompanied on the visit by Senator Lawal Adamu, representing Kaduna Central District.