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Jonathan asks National Assembly to rescue LGAs

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has asked the National Assembly to review the law establishing local governments in the country to make it more functional and…

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has asked the National Assembly to review the law establishing local governments in the country to make it more functional and responsive to the yearnings of people at the grassroots.

He spoke on local governments administration while giving vote of thanks on behalf of 44 Nigerians who received Nigeria Excellence Award in Public Service (NEAPS) at the Conference Room of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

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Jonathan observed that no local government chairman was among the awardees which included governors, ministers and top government officials.

He said one of them would have been recognised if local government administration was “functional and doing well”.

He said: “Let me use this unique opportunity to make a little observation. We have 36 states. And out of 36 states, from the list, 16 governors were recognised this morning. And I ask myself, out of the 774 local government chairmen, not even one is here with us. Mr Senate President and Mr. Speaker, that shows that National Assembly has some work to do. Probably, we need to review and look at the structure and functions of the local governments.

“If the local governments are functional and doing well, we expect one or two of them to be noticed by those who go around the country to assess people that should be recognized. I believe we need to do something about the local government structure in Nigeria. Because if the local governments are working, some of the challenges we are having, even security challenges at that level of government that is very close to the people, they would have been able to nip it at that stage.”

The former president advised those in charge of the award to also recognise extraordinary Nigerians in the teaching and medical professions who had been hitherto ignored in the society despite their contributions.

Jonathan said: “Let me also use this unique opportunity to appeal to those who do the selection, there are some categories of people that will must also look at. It is very difficult to reach out to them and assess them. It is easier to assess governors because there are only 36. You can easily assess the ministers. They are not too many. Heads of parastatals are known. But our teachers, especially those who teach are at the primary and secondary level really need to be encouraged because they have the duty to mould the children.

“When they pass through that level of education and they are not moulded, they become nuisance to society. I went to Akwa Ibom not too long ago for a programme similar to this where people are recognised and I was quite impressed. One secondary school teacher was honoured by the governor. “I think we need to also look at that, especially the medical officers, doctors, nurses and paramedics. Some of them have to die to save us. We have this experience with the COVID. During the Ebola, I vividly remember this lady, Dr. Ameyo. Of course, Babatunde Fashola remembered her very well, who saved this country from the spread of Ebola and she paid the supreme prize. She died in that process. There is no post- homous award here. But I am saying there are people in the medical profession that have done similar things and are still alive. They need also to be recognised.”

Jonathan thanked President Muhamadu Buhari for giving the award in person, making it look like the famous national honours.

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