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Weak Local Governance Behind Nigeria’s Development Issues, Says Speaker Abbas

 

Abuja, May 27, 2024 – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, has highlighted weak governance at the local level as a key factor behind Nigeria’s numerous development challenges, including widespread insecurity. Speaking through his deputy at a national dialogue on Nigeria’s security challenges and local governance, Abbas emphasized the urgent need to address these issues to foster good governance and strengthen national security.

 

Abbas acknowledged that while the government has taken significant steps to tackle historical and complex issues hindering Nigeria’s development, local governance remains a critical area needing reform. He pointed out that the federal government recently took legal action against state governors at the Supreme Court to enforce local government autonomy as mandated by the 1999 Constitution.

 

“The essence of local government is to ensure local solutions to local problems using local resources,” Abbas said, stressing that local governments are vital for grassroots development and governance. He noted that despite constitutional provisions, local governments have failed to meet expectations due to state interference, lack of financial autonomy, political instability, and corruption.

 

More than half of Nigeria’s 768 local governments operate under caretaker committees, violating the constitutional requirement for democratic management. This has weakened local governance and contributed to the country’s security issues. Addressing these challenges is crucial for fostering good governance and national security, Abbas argued.

 

The Speaker also highlighted the National Assembly’s ongoing efforts to secure local government autonomy. Past initiatives, such as the Local Government Reform Act and constitutional amendments, aimed to grant financial and administrative independence to local governments. Despite opposition from some state governments, the National Assembly remains committed to this cause.

 

In a call to action, Abbas urged all state governors to support the President’s quest for full local government autonomy. He emphasized the need for consensus and political will to implement necessary changes, ensuring local governments can effectively perform their constitutionally assigned roles.

 

“Resolving the status of local governments is essential for their optimal operation and for addressing the broader issues of national security and development,” Abbas concluded.

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