By Gbenga Sodeinde, Senior Correspondent, Ado-Ekiti
State governors on the platform of the newly registered mega party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Wednesday cautioned the National Assembly against legislating on any aspect of the local government administration in the country; saying that such action will tilt the country towards a unitary state.
This was part of the resolutions of the APC Governors at their maiden meeting held in Lafia, Nasarawa State capital on Wednesday.
In attendance at the meeting were: Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, Nasarawa State; Governor Kashim Shettima, Borno; Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti; Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Osun; Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, Lagos; Senator Abiola Ajimobi, Oyo; Governor Abdulazeez Yari, Zamfara, and Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Ogun State; Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Edo; and Governor Rochas Okorocha, Imo State, who was represented by his Deputy, Prince Eze Madumere. Governor Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe State could not attend following his trip to the lesser Hajj.
Reading the communiqué after the four hour meeting, Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said the Governors extensively discussed constitutional amendment and resolved that the issue of local government administration is a matter within the purview of the federating units and that federalism is the basis of the nation’s sovereignty.
The Governors added that any attempt by the National Assembly to legislate on any aspect of council administration will undermine and weaken the fundamental principles of the Nigerian federalism.
Fayemi also said that the Forum deliberated on revenue allocation and noted that in spite of recommendations made to the Presidency, no effect has been given to the extant proposals on the need to give more funds to the states and local governments because that is where the citizens reside.
“The PGF further recommends that the powers to alter the revenue allocation formula currently with the Presidency should be vested in the National Assembly henceforth,” the Ekiti State Governor said.
On the spate of terrorism in the northern part of the country, Fayemi said the responsibility of the APC is not just to verbalise its abhorrence of what has been happening in the North but also take measures like supporting through provision of relief materials.
“The Forum condemns the killing of security operatives at Alakio by the outlawed Ombatse militia and commends the Nasarawa State Government for the proactive steps taken in instituting a judicial Commission of Enquiry with a view to bringing to book the perpetrators of this dastardly act,” he said.
The Forum stressed the need to work at various levels to insist on a security cum economic strategy that will ultimately put an end to the carnage going on in that part of the country.
Shedding more light on the proposed council autonomy, Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), said the constitution gives state Assemblies power to create local governments through a referendum and an enactment before their listing in the constitution.
Fashola said if the councils were created by the state, then they do not need autonomy from “an agency” that did not create them.
“If councils are created by the state, why should they seek autonomy from an agency that did not create them? ” The parents should decide whether their children should go out at nights, they do not to go and meet the neighbour next door for permission to go out at night”, he said.