of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has called on
Nigerians to lend their voices to the push for financial and
administrative autonomy for local governments in the country, noting
that if state Houses of Assembly are not pressurised, they may not vote
in favour of the proposal.
Speaker said this when he received a delegation from the Nigeria Good
Governance Group, led by former military governor of Bauchi State, Gen
Chris Abutu Garba (rtd), in his office.
maintained that there are beneficiaries of the present arrangement who
will do everything possible to ensure that the proposed Constitution
Amendment to wrest control of the resources of local governments from
state governors does not scale through.
calling on “civil society organisations, non-governmental
organisations, community based organisations, to stand up and be
counted,” Dogara, also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to give support
to the clamour for local government autonomy, as promised in his
inaugural address on May 29, 2015.
Speaker recalled that the President had pledged that actualising
financial autonomy for local governments will be in line with his
resolved not to allow people under him to betray the trust Nigerians
have placed on them as leaders.
is a betrayal of trust given to some elected officials by the people
who now abuse this trust,” he said, referring to some governors who
divert funds meant for the development of local government areas.
will take more than the will of the legislature at the federal level to
ensure that these radical changes are achieved. We all know that in the
last assembly, when we passed it to the states, most of the states
voted it down that they don’t want the autonomy for local government
councils. And in the process of amending the Constitution, the state
legislators must be engaged, and we will have to have a return of 2/3rd
approval from the state assemblies. So if we put forward these proposals
and we fail to gather 2/3rd support it means that automatically it has
failed and there is nothing that we can do about it.
is why we will start by lobbying you, even if I call it lobby, to make
sure that we stand up as a people. Whenever things are not working, we
should be able to close ranks, come together and say we are opposed to
this system that is not delivering the goods, we want it completely
excised from the body polity so that we can make progress. But if we
keep quiet, nothing will happen.”
the state assemblies are not pressured by stakeholders, I can assure
you that we will not get that 2/3rd support. I am not a prophet, but we
will not get it, except we have people like you who are ready to stand
up and be counted by bringing pressure to the state governors and
bringing pressure to the state assemblies and making sure that what this
revolutionary amendment seeks to achieve in our Constitution is
leader of the delegation, Gen Chris Abutu Garba, tabled some requests of
the Nigeria Good Governance Group to Speaker Dogara, including a fixed 4
year tenure for local government council chairmen, death penalty,
confiscation of stolen property and blacklisting of family members of
convicted corrupt government officials, fiscal federalism and allowances
for graduates of higher Institutions who are unemployed, among others.
|Dogara (c) beside him is the leader of the delegation|