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Speaker Abbas to govs: Support Tinubu’s quest for full LG autonomy

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajudeen, on Monday called on governors of the 36 states to support President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s quest…

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajudeen, on Monday called on governors of the 36 states to support President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s quest to grant full financial autonomy to the local government areas.

Abbas made the call during a national discourse on ‘Nigeria’s Security challenges and Good Governance at the Local Government Level’ organised by the House of Representatives with support from the UK International Development and PERL.

The Speaker said there was a need for the governors to put the interest of Nigeria first by supporting full autonomy for the local government councils in the country.

He said a critical component of the president’s ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’ is the integration of local governments into the mainstream of governance in Nigeria.

He said, “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).

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“This suit, filed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, seeks full autonomy for all LGAs in accordance with the 1999 Constitution, which mandates a democratically elected local government system.

“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.”

He said the 10th National Assembly on its part, is determined and committed to ensuring local governments are recognised and sufficiently empowered to perform their constitutionally assigned roles.

He said, “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.

“It is imperative that all stakeholders, especially the governors, commit to this cause with unwavering determination. 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.”

The Speaker identified challenges impeding the local government councils to fulfil their constitutionally assigned roles to include the covert usurpation of local government functions by state governments, lack of financial autonomy due to the State Joint Local Government Account, political instability from tenure irregularities, and pervasive corruption.

He said currently, more than half of the 768 local government areas in the country operate under caretaker committees, violating constitutional mandates for democratic management.

“These issues, among others, have weakened local governance and allowed insecurity to thrive. In fact, many have argued that the myriad challenges facing Nigeria today, including widespread insecurity, are linked to the non-existence or weakness of governance at the Local Government level,” he said.

Abbas said addressing issues of governance at the local government councils was key to enhancing national security challenges.

“Addressing these challenges is crucial for fostering good governance and strengthening national security.

“The issues of national security and good governance at this level therefore, deserve very serious attention. We cannot be talking about national security and development if our local governments remain insecure, mismanaged and underdeveloped.

“This national dialogue, coming at the heels of the recently held Retreat on National Security and State Police, gives us the unique opportunity to focus attention on the local governments.

“It is a well-known fact that the current security challenges have impacted more adversely on the local government areas than on any tier of government”, he said.

He said since the return to democratic rule in 1999, the National Assembly had consistently championed the cause of local government by introducing the Local Government Reform Act, which sought to clarify the roles and responsibilities of local governments and ensure their independence.

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