The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said its governors are not
against autonomy for local governments, as reported in a section of
the media on Thursday, describing such reports as a gross
misrepresentation of the governors? position on the issue.
In a statement issued in Oro, Kwara State, on Thursday by its Interim
National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the
governors are only asking that such autonomy must be determined by the
State Houses of Assembly, rather than the National Assembly.
?For those who may have been misled by the media reports, we want to
state our stand clearly. In the first instance, the Constitution of
the Federal Republic of Nigeria gives the State Houses of Assembly the
power to create local governments. Therefore, autonomy for local
governments should be debated at the Houses of Assembly, not at the
?Secondly, giving control of the local governments to the federal
government, one of the two federating units in a federalist system of
government, will only result in the creation of a unitary government.
?And thirdly, all local government administration must be
democratically elected in a free and fair election, while Chairmen and
Councillors must be accountable to those who elected them.
?We are a welfarist party and we believe in accountability and abhor
any system where any local government administration is not elected
freely and fairly. The appointment of caretaker committees to run
local governments is an aberration. This is our stand and it
definitely does not represent an opposition to autonomy for local
governments,? APC said.
The party said instead of creating more problems by giving the
National Assembly the power to regulate local governments, ways must
be found to resolve existing problems for the smooth running of local
?Let us ensure that local government elections are free, fair and
credible; let us ensure that Chairmen and Councillors are accountable.
Let us stop the appointment of caretaker committees to run local
governments because this is undemocratic. Let the State Houses of
Assembly which have the powers to create local governments also be
able to determine the issue of autonomy
?Also to be looked into are the areas of responsibility of the local
governments. Currently, they have the same list of responsibilities,
even though their areas of priority differ. But the truth is that
local governments should have different areas of responsibility. While
some may want to place emphasis on agriculture, some may prefer
environment by virtue of their topography.
?On the belief that some state governments appropriate funds meant
for local governments, the cure is not for the federal government to
give money directly to the local governments, but for states and local
governments to agree on how to ensure a judicious expenditure of local
government funds. The partnership between states and local governments
is very important for the overall welfare of the common man.,?
Alhaji Lai Mohammed
Interim National Publicity Secretary