Arewa Think Tank Backs Tinubu on Local Government Autonomy

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

A group, the Arewa Think Tank (ATTK) has thrown its weight behind President Bola Tinubu in his latest bid to strengthen local government administration in the country and ensure the third tier of government enjoys financial autonomy.

Tinubu had recently dragged governors of the 36 states to the Supreme Court, urging the apex court to stop them from tampering with allocation from the federation account to local government areas.

In a statement, the Chief Convener of the group, Muhammad Yakubu, noted that cases of lack of accountability hinder the growth of local councils, adding that the state governors must be held accountable for lack of adequate development at the grassroots.

“Arewa Think Tank is in line with the president for taking a swipe at the governors who during elections local governments become key to raking in votes but soon after the polls, the governors concentrate on the state level.

“We believe that Tinubu is doing his very best to enhance the revenue base of the country, and as such the governors must equally be sympathetic, and they must urgently consider the needs of the local people.

“People reside in the local communities. That is where they work, farm, and live. If the local governments are not effective in delivering services, leaders must not hang on to the numbers.

“We have 774 local government areas, but are they truly effective? Do they solve problems for Nigerians? Do they coordinate development programming with the state and federal governments?” the group queried.

The Arewa group added that people must be held accountable for the performance of the 774 local governments so as to develop the grassroots.

“We are happy that the House of Representatives has expressed its readiness to support Tinubu’s push to grant independence to local governments, a move targeted at enhancing democratic governance at the grassroots level.

“It gladdens our hearts that the federal government dragged the 36 state governors before the Supreme Court, seeking the enforcement of full autonomy for local governments,” the think tank added.

Among the injunctions, it stated that the government is urging the apex court to issue an order prohibiting state governors from embarking on the unilateral, arbitrary and unlawful dissolution of democratically elected local government chairmen, and constituting caretaker committees to succeed them.

Stressing that it condemned the practice in its entirety, the Arewa group said that it believed that the reform will promote transparency, accountability, and good governance at the local level.

The Speaker and the House of Reps, it said, are eager to work with the executive arm to make it a reality.

“The move aligns with the Legislative Agenda of the 10th House to promote good governance and empower the grassroots. Local governments are the closest tier of government to the people, and their autonomy is crucial for effective service delivery, economic development, and democratic growth,” the statement said.

Also, the group alleged that there is a deliberate attempt to destroy the best brains in Tinubu’s administration, starting with the Comptroller General of Customs, Mr. Adewale Adeniyi.

Specifically, Arewa Think Tank said it was worried over a recent ‘campaign of calumny’ against the Customs boss by some people it said were out to distract him from his duties by attempting to spread misleading information about his record of service.

“We are disturbed to read that the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr. Adewale Bashir Adeniyi has raised an alarm over alleged moves by some people he described as ‘faceless individuals’ to distract him from his duties by attempting to spread misleading information about his record of service.

“We understand that Adeniyi raised the alarm while reacting to an enquiry by a national daily on his record of public service since leaving school, based on some documents made available to the said national daily, including his academic qualifications, and records of his days at the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) before joining the NCS.

“However, it gratifies our hearts that Adeniyi has said that he rose to the pinnacle of his career through hard work, dedication and sacrifice, with unblemished record of service.

“That together with his team, he is dedicating his energy and expertise to helping to actualise President Tinubu’s agenda of building a stronger and more virile economy for the country,” the group stressed.

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