The Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), has declared support for the position of President Muhammadu Buhari, on how the state governors have pilfered local government funds and destroyed the third tier of government.
But NULGE appealed to President Buhari to go further and ensure that the situation is addressed through the on-going constitution amendment, saying that in truth to the statement made by the President, the state governors have totally destroyed the Local government system by embezzling the funds meant for development through the State and Local Government Joint Account, “which regrettably is a constitution provision.”
President Buhari has lambasted the governors for trying to push their responsibility to others, while they were busy collecting he larger percentage of thee money meant for local government but give a very small fraction of the money to the local government chairman.
President had Buhari said: “Two South West Governors came to me to say cattle rearers are destroying farms in their states. I asked them what happened to the grassroot security panels from Traditional Rulers to Local Governments who meet regularly to identify the root of their problems and identify crooks within their environment and apprehend the criminals.
“Who destroyed this system? Go back and fix it, give your people sense of belongings. I don’t like it when people campaign to become governors and people trusted them with their votes and after winning, they can’t perform. They were trying to push their responsibilities to others.
“We have three tiers of Government, Federal, State and Local. We have killed the Local Government totally. We will send N300 million as allocation to a Local Government, one governor will ask the Local Government Chairman to sign that he collected N300 million, but he will give him N100 million and the Chairman will keep quiet. Is that how we will continue?”
Speaking to journalist in Abuja, NULGE President, Comrade Adetunji Ambali said President Buhari was apt in his assessment of what is going on in the local government.
He said: “The condemnation of the governor by President Buhari on how they run the local government aground and destroyed the system is a welcome development. The president, being the father of the nation have a perfect idea of what is going on at the local level. The governors have pilfered the resources meant for local government and they use every available opportunity to embezzle the funds meant for the development of local government.
“They do this through the states and local government joint account, which unfortunately is backed by the present constitution. Mr. President must therefore go further to ensure that this anomaly is corrected through the ongoing constitution amendments.
He said the state and local government’s joint accounts should be deleted from the constitution, since a constitution amendment process is on-going.
Also more importantly, Ambali said
all the States Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) should be scrapped, while the Independent National Electoral Commission should be in charge of organizing local government election since it’s also the one thst orgsnises the state elections for the governors and members of state assembly.
The NULGE president noted that the only solution to addressing the current insecurity challenges ravaging the country, was to grant full autonomy to local governments, and the pilfering of local governmentgunds by the state governors.
According to him, the joint state, local government account, has become a conduit pipe for corruption by the state governors, regretting that some governors are hell-bent on destroying the local government systems in order to continue the looting.
Ambali said: “The problem bedevilling local governments is constitutional and structural. That clause, the allows joint state and locsl government account should be deleted from the constitution.
” That clause, the joint account allocation committee, was drafted into the constitution by those who meant well but unfortunately, it has become a bastion of corruption.”
He, therefore appealed to President Buhari to ensure that these areas of the law are ammended, so that the joint account would be abolished while the State Independent Electoral Commission be scrapped.