The President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to issue some executive orders that will guarantee the financial autonomy to local government areas in the country.
The president Ned Nwoko foundation, Honourable Ned Nwoko made the call weekend in Abuja during presentation of a lecture titled ‘Democracy Day Lecture: Getting It Right Ahead Of 2023’ at the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) FCT Secretariat, Abuja.
Ned Nwoko decried the tedious process of amending the Constitution, which must pass through the National Assembly, some of whom are strong advocated against local government financial autonomy. He said for the president to have pointed out the evil perpetrated by state governors who shortchange the third tier of government od their allocation, urgent action must be taken to restore normalcy and return to the path of growth in the country.
“I was happy and sad listening to the president talk about local governments in Nigeria. Happy because the president is fully aware of what the local governments are going through in the hands of state governors. Sad because no immediate action was taken by president Buhari”.
“Local government autonomy is almost the beginning and end of the solution to problems in Nigeria considering that the local government is the closest tier of government to the people at the grassroots”.
“The president should issue some executive orders that guarantee financial autonomy to the local government areas in Nigeria. The joint account operated between the states and local governments has given room to stealing because every crime is local” he said.
Nwoko also said, “If the president know that governors are stealing local government funds, what is stopping him from working with the national Assembly to free the local governments?. Going forward and in preparation for the next elections, local governments should become autonomous to give the much needed comfort”.
On guaranteeing credible, free and fair elections at all levels, Nwoko said state INEC should be abolished as they serve as a veritable weapon in the hands of state actors to perpetrated electoral fraud. He also made case for the independence of the electoral umpire.
“State INEC is just a bogus arrangement that seeks to give power to any party that controls a particular state. There should be one, truly independent INEC; an inec that is devoid of control from the president but it’s truly independent. Such an inec should have direct funding from federations account and have nothing to do with the president or governors.
“There should be an ombudsman, which is an independent body to manage INEC so as to checkmate excesses. It should be composed of pressure groups such as Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ), National Union of Road Transport Worker(NURTW) and National Association Nigerian Students (NANS), as the governing body with the rotational presidency of two years”.
The foremost philanthropist called for an urgent national conference to discuss issues affecting the nation especially in arws of insecurity, agitations, youths unemployment and resource control. He assured that if a national conference is convened, the agitations around the country will fade away.
“There is urgent need for the government of the day to constitute a national conference. The conference should be constituted within few months and given six months to listen to Nigerians. If this is done, all the crisis ravaging the country will stop. There shouldn’t be a guideline to what the conference will discuss about but everything that can foster the unity of the nation should be discussed”.
On the economy of nation, he regretted that is not working and has not worked for a long time. According to him, for an economy to work, it most guarantee some level of employment for a people.
According to him, If this is done, Nigeria can match forward to the 2023 elections and ensure that some credible politicians will be elected. Otherwise, the circle will continue because of lack of creativity.