New Telegraph

Support Tinubu On Local Govt Autonomy, Abbas Tells Govs

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas on Monday urged the 36 state governors to support President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in his commitment towards granting full autonomy to the local government areas in the country.

Abbas made the call at the National Discourse on Nigeria’s Security Challenges and Good Governance at the Local Government Level organised by the House of Representatives in Abuja.

The speaker recalled that the federal government recently filed a legal action against the usurpation of local government functions by the sub-national governments.

He said the decision was indicative of Tinubu’s determination to correct the anomalies in the system to encourage speedy development at the local government level, stressing that the House has also made frantic efforts through various legislative interventions to arrest the situation.

While lamenting the challenges facing the local governments, he assured that the House is committed to making the local government administration function optimally according to their mandate.

Abbas represented by Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu said, “The failure of local government is well known to us. Despite the extensive provisions of the 1999 Constitution regarding the existence and functions of local governments, that tier of government has failed to live up to its billing.

“Some of the most significant challenges impeding their ability to fulfil their constitutionally assigned roles include the covert usurpation of local government functions by state governments, a lack of financial autonomy due to the State Joint Local Government Account, political instability from tenure irregularities, and pervasive corruption.

“A critical component of the President’s Renewed Hope Agenda is the integration of local governments into the mainstream of governance in Nigeria. In a significant move, the Federal Government recently instituted legal action against the governors of the 36 states at the Supreme Court, addressing alleged misconduct in the administration of Local Government Areas (LGAs).

“This action underscores the President’s profound commitment to this issue, one he is intimately familiar with from his tenure as Governor of Lagos State.

“We in the 10th National Assembly are determined and committed to ensuring local governments are recognised and sufficiently empowered to perform their constitutionally assigned roles. As contained in our legislative agenda, the House will continue to play a crucial role in advocating for and enacting the necessary legislative frameworks to ensure that local governments are granted the autonomy they rightfully deserve.

“This is not just a legislative duty but a commitment to the democratic aspirations of the Nigerian people and the Constitution. For this reason, I call on all governors to put Nigeria first and collectively support the president in the quest to grant full autonomy to local governments. We must definitively resolve the controversy surrounding the status of local governments by providing the framework needed to ensure their optimal operation.

“Let me reassure you that the outcomes of this national dialogue will receive the full attention of the House and its Committee on Constitutional Amendment.”

Also speaking at the summit, Deputy Speaker Kalu represented by the House Leader, Hon. Julius Ihonvbere regretted that non-state actors are taking advantage of ungoverned spaces in the local government areas to make life unbearable for people in rural communities.

“History often takes unexpected turns. Like a once-mighty warrior whose shield has grown rusty, our local governance system has faltered. The gaps in service delivery are wide, and the very people who need them most—our rural citizens—are suffering. This, in turn, has fueled social unrest and violence, creating fertile ground for those who seek to exploit instability.

“As many political analysts and development experts have noted, the near absence or complete breakdown of governance at the local level has created ungoverned spaces.

“These spaces have been exploited by non-state actors, making life increasingly unbearable for our rural populace. This is a stark reminder of the urgent need for reform and revitalization at the grassroots level.

“Efforts to address these issues through constitutional amendments by the 7th, 8th, and 9th National Assemblies were not successful. Various reasons have been cited for these failures, but what remains clear is that the situation has continued to deteriorate without effective alternative measures being put in place,” Kalu said.

“Specifically, we aim to discuss the bottlenecks inhibiting effective governance at the local government level, ascertain the extent to which weak governance contributes to insecurity and other developmental challenges, galvanize public action for improved governance and service delivery at the subnational level, leverage ongoing reforms like the debate on state police and the constitution amendment exercise, and build national consensus on the most appropriate strategies for strengthening local government governance.

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