By Yinka Kolawole
A member of the House of Representatives from Ijesha-North Federal Constituency, Honou-rable Nathaniel Agunbiade, has said the Action Congress of Nigeria caucus in the lower chamber would ensure that Nigeria embraced fiscal federalism.
Agunbiade, who stated this while speaking with journalists in Osogbo, stressed that it was only through fiscal federalism that the country’s young democracy could stand the test of time and the people at the grassroots could enjoy dividends of democracy. He said one of the priorities of the ACN members in the National Assembly was to ensure that before the end of the seventh National Assembly, it would legislate for a return to fiscal federalism in the country.
According to him, “The federal government has annexed too much power and resources to itself at the detriment of states and local governments, who are closer to the people at the grassroots.”
He said he saw no reason why the federal government should annually make an agricultural budget for people at different localities, when it does not understand their needs. “So it would be better to return to the era that fosters regional development of the country,” he advsided.
The lawmaker added that the country could not continue to run a system of government that gives absolute power to a government at the central, which is distant from the electorate, hence, the resolve by the ACN lawmakers to push for the reform.
Answering questions on the status of the Electoral Act, Agunbiade disclosed that plans were underway to amend the Act to avoid exploitation of its lapses for selfish ends.
“One of the recommendations I intend to put forward is that once election is concluded, the custody of the ballot papers be surrendered to the national headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission or the papers be duplicated and given to the electorate, so that parties would not tamper with the materials,” he stated.
This, according to him, would prevent parties that have friends within the INEC offices from possible alteration of the materials to facilitate victory at the electoral court.