President Muhammadu Buhari has declared his commitment to local government autonomy.
“Apparently, it is corruption that led to the relegation of the local government to the grips of the state government over the years thereby distorting and demeaning the real status of our federalism with regards to devolving governance, he said at a national workshop on anti-corruption, organised by the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) .
He was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Fund, in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Dr Habiba Lawal.
“The good news is that the disposition of the National Assembly in granting autonomy to this very important tier of government is an indication that we have started already to address the question of restructuring which many Nigerians appear to be clamouring for.
“I and my team are waiting patiently to receive the reports from the state Houses of Assembly so as to do the needful in the event that the current proposal for the review of the 1999 Constitution (as amended ) come to us for consideration and assent.”
The President described the recent passage of the Local Government Autonomy Bill by the National Assembly as an indication that his administration had gradually begun the country’s restructuring .
A once vibrant tier of government, which occasioned development at the grassroots, has gone into oblivion due to obvious reasons.
Former leader Olusegun Obasanjo, last year at an event said not allowing the LGAs to work as well as stealing of their funds from source by states is one of the greatest disservice of all political parties in our democratic experiment.
“I called such fraud, stealing and corruption. It is fraud, it is corruption. They will say they have done something or paid for something for their Local Governments. And when the Local Governments’ money comes, they take it. Who is that chairman that will tell the Governor you have taken our money? You are gone,” he said.