Govs, State Assemblies Delaying Local Government Autonomy – Osinbajo

The Evangelist
December 4, 2022

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has blamed state governors and state Houses of Assembly for the delay in the passage of Local Government Autonomy Bill. The delay, according to the Vice President is hindering good governance. Osinbajo stated this while delivering a paper at the 2022 Distinguished Annual Lecture of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Plateau State.

The lecture was titled “Subnational Local Governance in Africa: Rethinking Policies, Frameworks and Institutions.” Osinbajo, who was represented by Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, said that local authorities play key roles towards nation building, but lamented that the third tier of government had over time been neglected and undervalued. He maintained that the ongoing constitutional amendment seeking to allocate more powers to the local governments is a step in the right direction.

“By the Nigerian constitution, the states and their local governments are entrusted with very important responsibilities, such that without consistent efficiency at their respective levels, national development cannot be truly realised. While the role of state governments and their scope of authority appear very well appreciated, local governments remain, in my view, quite undervalued, needing more attention from all of us, better funding, better quality of leadership.

“As we speak, a bill for Local Government autonomy is striving hard to pass the threshold of 24 votes required from the 36 State Houses of Assembly, a key milestone towards its passage into law. I believe that efforts that are being made, through the ongoing constitutional amendment, to cede more responsibility for the control and management of resources to Local Governments across the country, reflect our understanding of how crucial it has become for Local Governments to take full charge of their own responsibilities and function at optimal capacity.

“After all, as it is often argued, Local Councils are the tier of government closest to the citizens and best placed to impact their lives,” he said. While appealing to state governors and houses of assemblies for the smooth passage of the local government autonomy bill pending before them, the VP said, “Ratifying the bill that grants Local Governments fiscal autonomy in Nigeria is indeed a step in the right direction, and we encourage the yet to be decided votes from the remaining State Houses of Assembly to be considered in this regard, and speedily passed.

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