Workers in Ondo Local Government have threatened to disrupt the 2023 general elections if the state is not granted autonomy before the commencement of the exercise.
The workers threatened after closing down the Ondo State House of Assembly on Tuesday night.
The workers, under the auspices of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), also disrupted the session of state lawmakers for several hours.
Their move came after they pressured lawmakers to vote against local government autonomy in the state.
The workers held placards with different inscriptions such as “Yes to the independence of the Central Election Commission”, “Yes to the independence of the judiciary”, “No vote on independence”, “We are committed to independence”.
Many of the workers who spoke in turn said they would use their voting power to reject any lawmaker or political party that denied constitutional independence.
Rumors were rife in the state on Monday that the executive had pressured members of parliament to vote against autonomy for local governments in the constitution being reviewed by the national assembly.
The Peoples Gazette reported that Monday’s session of the legislators turned into a row in the hallowed hall of the State House when members were debating whether to revoke the autonomy of the LGs.
The situation, The Gazette further gathered, led to an outcry among some lawmakers present during the parliamentary session.
Speaking at the protest on Tuesday, NULGE National Vice President Abimbola Babalola said workers were ready to wait for next year’s elections to vent their anger if LG autonomy is not legislated in the state.
Mr. Babalola said the local government system should be autonomous, noting that it would bring growth and development to the grassroots.
“Therefore, in the coming general elections, there will be no independence and elections in Ondo State,” he told journalists.
Mr. Babalola added that sixteen states of the federation have so far signed the state autonomy bill, stressing that Ondo cannot be an exception.
The Ondo Chairman of NULGE, Bola Taiwo, said if lawmakers refuse to pass the bill, workers will continue to be paralyzed in social and political activities in the state.
Mr. Taiwo also threatened to continue blocking the State House complex if the workers did not meet their demands.
Ondo Assembly Speaker Bamidele Oleyoloogun was not present at the premises during the angry protest by local government officials.
But two legislators who participated in the protest, Feyide Olyuede (Ose) and Tomide Akinribido (Ondo West), denied any pressure on MPs to vote against the LG Autonomy Bill.