President Muhammadu Buhari has accused state governments of stealing funds allocated to local governments, thereby limiting development at the grassroots.
The President made the claim when he hosted senior executives of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies at a presidential villa in Abuja.
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Buhari condemned the unfair treatment by state governors against the administration at the local government level. He said that the governor’s attitude portrays the sort of corrupt practices perpetrated in dispensing resources meant for the masses.
He blamed the situation on lack of integrity and character on the part of the governors.
Reacting to President Buhari’s accusations, governors of Benue, Kwara, Rivers and Ebony States say the accusation does not apply to them.
Former chairman, Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area, Comrade Ayodele Adewale speaking on TVCBreakfast said the president has some information on his table and he has already reacted to that information before him, but it is not general.
The President, according to him must have spoken in that context, but it is not generally related.
He said looking back to the pivotal role local government play in society, one would agree that without local government there cannot be government that will be deepened to the people.
The president should also go ahead to help the system to nip the issue at the bud and get whoever that is culpable into retracting from such systems.
Comrade Adewale noted that as much as the issue was said to be widespread, it is not total.
“There are some local states that have refused to conduct local government elections, so you ask governors where are the funds that are sent from the center? And of course they are on counterpart funding because local government derived funds from the federal, state and the internal generated revenue. So in such states they cannot hide behind one finger to say that they are not part of it or they are not part of the bar development from the grassroots.
Comrade Adewale noted that when it comes to calling the local government chairman accountable for trust and for all their sundry matters, people are docile.
“The state also have a ministry of local government and chieftaincy affair, such states are also culpable because it is mindboggling for you to be a leader of your community and you don’t live amongst your people”.
“People must hold their elective leaders responsible for their actions.”
Still reacting to the issue of stolen local government funds, the former Amuwo Odofin Chairman said it has nothing to do with true federalism, but more with the people.
“People voted for these people, either if the system has been too in advantage or not, but people voted for them. And if the people decide that they are not getting what they expected to get, especially from electoral promises, then the people should come out in protest and let people know.
Speaking further, Comrade Adewale said “True federalism or not, power belongs to the people and the people must monitor power and the must also tend to call people to order”.
Speaking on governors’ handpicking of local government chairmen, Comrade Adewale remarked that within a political system, there are phases of lobbying, the most basic of which is that you lobby your constituency, individuals within your area to support you, particularly inside your political party. You also persuade those in the corridors of power to ensure that you have the well without, because it is not only about people in your political party’s constituency, but also about people who govern the system. You must be able to move around, show them your programs, and show them that you tar both your contemporaries.