The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ahmed Wase; and Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu, have called for full autonomy for local governments in Nigeria, stating that it is the only way dividends of democracy can get to the people at the grass roots.
Wase and Elumelu made the call in Abuja on Thursday, at a leadership training sponsored by the Minority Leader for chairmen and councillors of Local Government Areas in Delta State.
The Deputy Speaker, while answering questions from journalists, recalled that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had signed an Executive Order to declare financial autonomy for LGs.
Buhari had signed Executive Order 10 in May 2020.
Wase said, “As for me, first as a member of parliament representing my constituency and my people, I think I am on the same page with my constituents to have an autonomous local government system, anchored on the generosity of what the President has done.
“If you remember some time in the past, he signed an Executive Order to have financial autonomy for local government. It is not just about financial autonomy; we should also have a complete independence of their administration, apart from their finances. That is the only way it can work, to make Nigeria and Nigerians great.”
Elumelu also stressed the need to lobby governors to allow local governments to function independently.
He said, “What we need is lobbying. There is the need for those fears of the governors (to be allayed). One of the states that voted for local government autonomy (in the Constitution review exercise by the 8th National Assembly) was Delta State. My governor supported it the last time when it came, in 2015-2019 amendment/alteration (exercise); he supported it. And the Houses of Assembly that supported it were about 10 states that voted in favour of it; Delta was among them.
“So, the issue about my state voting for it again is not a question. It is now left for other States to know that there is a need for them to emulate what Delta has done by supporting it. So, if Delta State can support it, I don’t see any other state that should not support local government autonomy.”
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