***roots for financial autonomy for LGs
By Rotimi Ojomoyela – Ado-Ekiti
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Hon Femi Bamisile, has called for financial autonomy for Local Governments.
He said this can only be possible if the state governors embrace the idea.
Bamisile also pleaded with the federal government to initiate a constitutional process that would empower the states to create more local governments based on convenience and financial capabilities.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmaker, who represents Gbonyin/Emure/Ekiti East federal constituency, reiterated that the duo of financial autonomy and devolution of powers to states to be able to create local governments would help in combating insecurity, alleviate poverty and give all Nigerians sense of belonging in the running of government.
Bamisile said these on Monday in reaction to the attempt by Governor Kayode Fayemi to create more local government development councils from the statutory 16 local government areas of the state.
Bamisile stated that bringing the governance close to the people remains the best way to checkmate all manners of crimes pummeling the nation.
The federal parliamentarian said: “I have always been in support of council creation. And Governor Fayemi taking steps to actualise this in Ekiti in form of development areas under a statutory council is good and heartwarming.
“But creating councils doesn’t make them effective in terms of delivery. Let there be financial autonomy, where LGs’ funds are allowed to go directly to there purses.
“During my gubernatorial campaign in 2018 as an aspirant under APC, this was all I canvassed for. So for Governor Fayemi to have set up a committee to finetune arrangements for the creation of LCDAs, is a welcome idea and we all shall support it”.
Bamisile added that, “The strength of the local governments determined a lot of things in a developing economy like ours. Poverty is very high at the grassroots and we need a strong government at that tier to be able to reduce the index of poverty through job creation, provision of public utilities like roads, health centres and rural electrification as well as local security and many others.
“If you look at the level of kidnappings, killings, banditry and insurgency that are affecting Nigeria, they are common in the local areas. If we have a vibrant local government system with a strong financial base, we should be able to have local vigilante groups that understand the terrain to ward off crime and criminalities.
“The rising scourge of rural-urban migration is also another keg of gunpowder waiting to explode in Nigeria. This was caused by poor local government system, for there was no life at that level of government which forced the citizens to move to cities and choke up the place.
“Looking at the upsurge of insecurity, bad governance, poverty, unemployment, migration, crimes in the Nigerian system, having an independent and autonomous local government system becomes expedient to save our nation from total ruin”.