Former President Goodluck Jonathan has imploerd the National Assembly to make laws that would make local government councils autonomous and have powers to generate revenue by themselves.
The former president stated this when the national and state executives of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) paid him a courtesy visit at his Otuoke country home, to ask for his support to stop a bill seeking to delist the Local Government structure from the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Johnathan said: “The problem with Nigeria is that our Local Government structure is still very weak. And whatever restructuring we are talking about, finally, Nigerians must sit down to discuss. And the issue of local government autonomy must be considered.
“As long as we have weak local governments, we would have difficulty managing this country. The way it is now, the person who runs the state, runs the LGAs and that makes nonsense of the whole concept of the third tier of government.
“The president should manage the nation, governors should manage the states and chairmen should be allowed to run the local councils.
“And until we are able to do that, it would be difficult to impact all the people at the grassroots level.
“It is only through local councils that the dividends of democracy can permeate uniformly into the society. And all of us must advocate for this right.
“The local government councils must be strong, autonomous,, and allowed to generate its own revenue. If I were in the Senate, I would have mobilized members to ensure that we amend the constitution in a way that would prohibit the appointment of chairmen to run governance at the local council level.
“The issue of appointment now make Local Government Council look like a part of the state’s administrative structure but that is not what ought to be the case. This is an abuse of democracy. So this appointment system has made council chairmen become like aides to the governor and we must discourage that.”
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