Local Government Autonomy: Senator Calls On NASS To Rethink Amendment
A former federal lawmaker belonging to the Peoples Democratic Party, Ayo Arise, on Friday called on the Senate to re-consider the constitutional amendment which seeks to grant autonomy to local governments, noting that it was an aberration of the federal system of government.
“It’s a very controversial subject. I for one, I think that rather than creating a unitary system of government, we should be looking towards federalism,” he said, on Sunrise Daily, noting that “in a Federal system, the State should be responsible for the creation of local government, so the issue of autonomy actually does not concern the federal government”.
Arise argued that the listing of local governments in the constitution suggests that they cannot grow unless there’s a constitutional amendment, explaining that, if the Federal System of Government is followed, governors would be able to examine the progress made in all areas of the state and then determine which areas should be upgraded to local governments.
“If you put that at the federal level, then it only means we are not practicing federalism,” he said.
He insisted that direct funding of local governments by the federal Government was an ‘aberration’, adding that “the states should be able to create local governments as they deem fit”.
He cited Lagos State as an example, noting that the metropolitan city had fewer local governments than Kano State. “So are we now saying that the need for local government creation is not germane in Lagos State,” he asked, adding that the population had continued to grow.
“Let the states create their local governments” as they can determine which areas qualify for splitting.
“The National Assembly should please, take a second look at this particular provision. Resolve the issue of who’s responsible for the creation of local governments. Remove the listing of local governments from the constitution – so that the state governments can create their local governments.
“Thereafter, the issue of autonomy becomes relevant if the Federal Government continues to send money – not to the states – to the states and local governments.
“That means the Federal Government will be mindful of the kind of money expended, the percentages allocated, which has become a major problem,” he said.