Senators Disagree Over LG Autonomy
Senators Emmanuel Adokwe and Olubunmi Adetunmbi, yesterday, differed over the financial autonomy of local governments as well as state creation.
Both senators who spoke at Hot Seat, a platform where senators address Senate correspondents, also held varied views on the proposed merger of some opposition parties.
Local government autonomy and state creation are some of the major contentious issues in the ongoing constitution amendment process.
While Senator Adokwe, representing Nasarawa South (PDP) supported local government autonomy and more states, Senator Adetunmbi, representing Ekiti North (ACN), advanced reasons why more states should not be created and local government should not be given allocation.
According to Senator Adokwe “in the Governors Forum, somebody tried to argue from that forum that there should be no autonomy for the local governments because it does not obtain anywhere and that the best system of federalism is the state and the federal government. I bet to disagree with that because there are very many versions of federalism. There are some that bother on confederation.
On state creation he said “the process for state creation is very laborious as provided by in the constitution. The national assembly and most other Nigerians are desirous that we should be able to break that jinx that only the military can create states.
On his part, Sen. Olubunmi Adetunmbi while speaking on state creation said “I am one of the people who believe that the future of the development of country lies squarely on the proper functioning of the state. And the best the federal government can do is to be a promoter and facilitator of good governance and service delivery to the people. But the actual theatre of development is in the local government and state because this is where the population of Nigeria resides.
This is where service delivery is being demanded and this is the point of interface between the people and the government.
On local government autonomy he said “the truth of the matter is that it is the state that makes up the local government. The state is the geographical entity in which the local government is the sub component. Now when you take local government out of that political structure and you give them a bypass to the federal government, you are eroding the powers of state government over their jurisdiction. What we want to solve is making sure the resources go to the local government direct. We should concentrate only on how to do that. But don’t precipitate another round of political crisis that turns local government chairmen against their governors.”
On planned Merger among opposition parties, Sen. Adokwe said “Well, I thank God that it is happening now. It is better that it happened now than for it to happen when we are facing elections. The good thing about PDP, there is a Chinese proverb that says whenever things turn to go smoothly, there is something that you are over-looking, so it is better for you to have these bumps now so that we can deal with them before we have 2015 elections.”
On his part Senator Adetunmbi noted that the fragmentation of opposition parties in Nigeria is not healthy for democracy as it does not provide strong opposition to a behemoth like PDP.
He observed that “what ACN and CPC are doing is causing sleepless nights for some people. It will continue to be so until what most Nigerians think is undoable will be done. Mark my words, it will happen.”