Local Government

  • Financial Autonomy for LGs Will End State Governors’ Mismanagement-Prof Olagoke

    ProfThe Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit(NFIU) recently pronounced that states would no longer control the funds of Local Governments in the country beginning from 1 June, 2019.

    However, state Governors insist that the NFIU’s action is illegal, but a cross section of Nigerians are of the opinion that the action is timely and would enable development get to the grassroots unhindered.

    In this interview, the Spiritual Head, Founder and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke opines that autonomy for the Local Governments would end wastage and mismanagement of finances of Local Government funds by state Governors.

    Excerpts :

    What is your reaction to the pronouncement of the NFIU Local Government funds ?

    The pronouncement of the NFIU is long overdue, in view of the fact that the financial scam we are trying to prevent through the states’ control of the Joint accounts of States and Local Governments, only resulted in the impoverishment of the Local Governments as well as the people at the grassroots.

    The superpower approach of many state Governors, with the attendant wastage of resources not been directed to the development concern of the grassroots must have informed the NFIU’s pronouncemnt.

    Equally, the bureaucratic process leading to the unnecessary delays as well as some hanky panky by the National Assembly and their probable collaboration with the Governors would have informed the Federal Government’s decision to separate the NFIU to do a perfect job.

    Governors forum

    Naturally, the clamor for the autonomy of Local Governments ought to have been done in the spirit of the need for the development of the grass roots, this is for rural integration to get a boost. The Local Government is closer to the people and this tier of government is easier to approach by the ordinary man.

    However, the culture of running governance as a personal empire, arguments would ever surface against the move by the Governors, whose meeting under the umbrella of the Nigeria Governors Forum have never been known to be on the side of the masses, whose rights they regularly and easily trample upon.

    The state Governors should realize that their annual budget should be within the limits of what the constitution assigns them and projects to be executed must be such to cover their specified areas of jurisdiction.

    All over the world most especially in the countries that are known to be fully developed such as the United Kingdom as well as the french speaking nations like Cote Ivoire, the Local Authorities take charge of development at the grassroots, with visible impact on the lives of the people, making their nations to follow the normal curve of economic class-Low, Middle and High, but in Nigeria, the middle class has gone into extinction, leaving us to the mercy of the low, high and outrageously and extremely very high in an environment of poverty, destitution, hunger and diseases, with every matter of development been politicized.

    Structurally in Nigeria, a lot of things are wrong and they have been there for so long, mainly because the masses are highly marginalized and incapacitated. This has made the politicians to lose focus on development, while they chase the shadows of self aggrandizement, illegal acquisition of wealth with low records of physical symbol on record of good performance while in office.

    All the masses could reap as dividends of Democracy is mere propaganda to cajole the people . They spend three months in office as political office holders, all they acquire during this period would be fatter than the gratuity of retired Professors, who must have served the nation for almost 40 to 50 years.

    With the NFIU’s pronouncement, sanity would be introduced in the financial transactions of the Local Governments. Also one would hope that the institutional committees such as the ACTU will equally spring into action to check the excesses of principal officers and surrogate allied officers in milking dry various institutions. For example there is a need for Nigerians to know the sources of the funds of some civil servants building Malls and edifices in Abuja and Lagos and even buying houses abroad.

    I have seen Universities and Polytechnics, where some people appointed as Bursars thank their their luck in their religious houses and with all fanfare throw parties as if to say their salaries would be more than that of the Senators.

    I have equally seen Registrars building palaces of complexes in different cosmopolitan towns and floating event centers as well as hotels spreading across hectares of land, but without having genuine sources of funds from any of their established business conglomerate.

    The owners of these, reflect the rot in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, in a land where we are fighting corruption. We must not lose sight of this.

    To make the financial autonomy of Local Governments to stand firm, there is the need to have a very effective network of anti-graft measures to checkmate possible excesses of Local Government Principal Officers from relaunching orgies of financial recklessness.

    It is not enough to make a law or effect a change, it is necessary to monitor critically, the workings in order that the Local Government does not again deviate from the expected service target of effecting development positively, with welfare of the people as a priority.