Autonomy: Best way to administer local governments – Don

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A Don and former head, department of Zoology, University of Uyo, Prof. Richard King, has said that the best way to administer the 774 Local Governments in the country and provide the people at the grassroots with true dividends of democracy is for the National Assembly to hasten up the process of passing the law granting full autonomy to local governments.

King, a chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) Akwa Ibom State and the Chairman, Presidential Book Launch, spoke with Daily Times in Uyo on Monday over the current rumours that state governors in Nigeria do not allow allocations meant for the local governments get to the grassroots administration under guise of “Joint account”,

which is being operated by virtually all the states in the country, also believes that joint account arrangement should be abolished.

He said, “The best thing that can ever happen to this country is for the National Assembly to pass the local government autonomy bill and the executive sign it into law without delay,

because governors are tampering with the allocation of the local governments mean that they are hindering development at the grassroots, which are even the fulcrum of democracy.

“You see, the reason governors are kicking against the full autonomy in the local government is because they know what they have been doing to the allocations accrued to the areas in their various states, in a situation where the state governors will constitute joint account committees and use those platforms to split and siphon money for them is pathetic.

No local government administration can do serious capital project under the present circumstances, except the third tier of government is granted full autonomy.”

He explained that even in electing leaders at the council, without full autonomy, the state governors will still use the State Independent Electoral Commissions to manipulate the process of electing leaders to favour their cronies in order to gain full control of the administration in the local government,

adding that what Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) did last few weeks in the name of election was a very big shame to true democratic processes.

Prof. King who is eying the governorship of Akwa Ibom state under the platform of APC in 2019, said when he becomes the governor, he will allow whatever money meant for the local government to go directly to the administration,

while the state government under his leadership will only carry out an oversight function to monitor how the resources are used for executing projects that will benefit the masses at the grassroots.

In his words, “There is nothing wrong about the chairmen of various local governments coming out with their budgets at the beginning of every fiscal year, and outline the projects they will execute in their areas,

while the state government monitor to ensure that these projects are carried out for the benefit of the people, I think that should be the duty of the state governments to local governments in the country and not to tamper with their account.”

Bassey Willie, Uyo

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