Local government councils in Nigeria have been rendered ineffective due to the interference of state governors according to Sam Onuigbo,a former member of the House of Representatives.
Calling for the strengthening of the local government system in Nigeria, Onuigbo said the autonomy of the third tier of the government was key to solving the challenges of unemployment, security and development in the country.
Onuigbo, who represented Ikwuano/Umuahia North and South Federal Constituency in Abia State from 2015 to 2023, made this remark in an exclusive interview on ARISE NEWS DAY Programme on Thursday, February 1, 2024.
“As soon as we are able to get the local government system working, engaging the youth at the local government base, we will be able to solve the challenges that we are having such as unemployment, insecurity and all that,” he said.
He explained that the local government councils were supposed to engage in development plans and projects for their areas, as stipulated insection 7 of the Constitution, “but have been reduced to mere appendages of the state governments.”
He continued that; “If Nigeria allows things to crack open by not allowing the local government to function, to engage the masses, to reduce unemployment, to start using resources coming from the federal government in a transparent, judicious and productive manner, we are running some funny risk,” he said.
He highlighted that many local governments chairmen and councillors only convene during the disbursement of funds from the federation account, thereby, lacking initiatives to generate internal revenue or delivering essential local services.
“Local governments now almost exist on paper. In most local governments today, the local government chairman, councillor and a few of them only gather when the allocation has come. And the point I am stressing is that most of these allocations come straight from the federation account, except for some of them that have power to use their internally generated revenue to raise money,” he added.