By Olasunkanmi Akoni
LAGOS — THE All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday, insisted that its governors were not against autonomy for local governments, as reported in the media, describing the reports as “a gross misrepresentation” of the governors’ position.
The party’s position came following media reports yesterday, that APC governors rose from a meeting in Nassarawa State and announced their opposition on autonomy for local governments in the country.
APC, in a statement, yesterday, by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the governors were only asking that such autonomy must be determined by the state Houses of Assembly, rather than the National Assembly.
The statement said: “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 National Assembly. 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 administrations 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.”
The party contended that 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 governments.
“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.”