×

Soludo Backs Single Term For Politicians, Rejects LG Autonomy

The Anambra State governor said the idea of autonomy for local governments is against the principles of true federalism.


Soludo speaks about local government autonomy at The Platform
Anambra State Governor, Chukwuma Soludo, at The Platform Democracy Day programme in Lagos on June 12, 2024

 

Anambra State Governor Chukwuma Soludo on Wednesday threw his weight behind the growing calls for a single term for elected officeholders but he argued that any form of autonomy for local government areas in the country is against the tenets of true federalism.

The former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) proposed a single-parliament National Assembly because of the country’s dwindling revenue.

Soludo, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 2004 to 2009, spoke at The Platform Nigeria, a programme by Lagos-based church, Covenant Nation, to mark the 2024 Democracy Day.

The event with the theme, ‘Democracy and the Free Market Economy’ featured former Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola; the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Hassan-Kukah; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; among others.

“Sometimes, these conversations about single term might begin to make some sense so that you fix it, whether you say four years or five years, six years, seven years, single term,” Soludo said.

“So, you are not thinking about the next election once you finish getting into this. I face that all day in my state. You want to get into this (project), they say, ‘No, wait, you know you have an election’. And I say, ‘No, let’s get it, if we get there, we get there and if we lose, we lose.”

‘LG Autonomy Against True Federalism’

There have been increased calls for local government autonomy in Nigeria. President Bola Tinubu has also supported the calls and in May the Federal Government sued the 36 state governors over alleged misconduct in the administration of Local Government Areas.

Governor Soludo, however, has a different view.

He said, “Funny enough, more recently, some people are arguing for the autonomy of local governments including some APC persons, which would take Nigeria back many decades from what a true federation is about.

“There is no federal system in the world where you have three federal units. The counties in America where we copied (democracy), their local governments don’t go to the centre to collect money directly.

“Each state must have the power to design the kind of local government system they want. That is what true federalism is about.”

Soludo said the Federal Government should give some of the responsibilities in the Exclusive List to sub-nationals.

“We need to tinker with the fiscal powers of the federal and state governments, devolve much of the responsibilities under the Exclusive List to the states, and at about 60 to 65 percent of the revenues to the states, with each deciding on the local system to adopt.

“Why not consolidate the National Assembly into one with no more than five representatives per state? We don’t need a National Assembly costing over N300bn yearly to maintain. We don’t need it,” he said.

‘Tinubu Should Clear Economic Mess’

The Anambra governor admitted that President Bola Tinubu did not cause the country’s economic problems. Rather, he believes that Nigeria is feeling the effects of poor actions and inactions of administrations since 1999.

“We are now suffering the consequences of delayed adjustments,” he said, adding that Tinubu has “the historic duty to mobilise Nigerians to clean up the mess for future generations.

“Nigeria faces fiscal quagmire and even technical solvency problems. Debt has piled to a level that leaves little headroom for more borrowing albeit at a very high cost. Yet, the needs of the citizens keep increasing in geometric proportion by the day.”

The governor warned that printing more money would lead to spiraling inflation.

“We are in a bind and must get out of it,” he said.