Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Prof. Itse Sagay, have faulted plans by the National Assembly to grant total autonomy to local governments as the third tier of government.
Both of them spoke in Lagos on Tuesday as part of the discussants at the second edition of the National Public Discourse, with the theme, ‘Local Government Authority: How Autonomous?’
Aregbesola said local governments were merely administrative units, subject to the states.
He said, “The federating entities are the states and the centre.
“The states are federating units, while the local governments are merely administrative units; centres of development in the states. Local government must not be seen as anything outside the total authority of the states.”
The governor described as an aberration, the situation in which the Federal Government distributes money to state and local governments, stating that such practice is found in other federal republics.
He added that the creation and funding of local governments under federalism lay within the powers of the states.
Sagay listing local government areas in the constitution as an aberration.
He said, “Every state should create, fund and run local government as they deed fit. Why should we even have a Federation Account? Why not Federal Government account and state government accounts?
“Why can’t a state decide the structure it wants to run for its local governments?
“How can the National Assembly dream that the Independent National Electoral Commission should start conducting local government elections? They say it is because the state governments are rigging the local government elections. Then I ask: Is the Federal Government not rigging the election conducted by INEC?
“If you want autonomy for local governments, then you should kiss federalism goodbye.
“What the National Assembly should be doing is to make the zones into powerful regions to reduce the powers of the federal governments and make Abuja less attractive. As it is the Federal Government is the most inefficient government and that is because it has too much money and too much power.”