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FG Suit On Council Autonomy Diversionary, Says Afenifere

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The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has recommended the deletion of local government from the constitution of the country, as a solution to the current controversies on the local government autonomy.

The Yoruba group also asked that each state be allowed to create and control local governments as so desired.

This was contained in the communiqué issued at the end of the caucus meeting of the organisation held at the Lagos residence of its leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, on Tuesday.

The communiqué was issued by the spokesperson for the organisation, Prince Justice Faloye.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), had earlier instituted a suit at the Supreme Court against the 36 state governors, accusing them of misconduct in the management of local governments’ funds and affairs.

He also demanded that the apex court grant local governments in the country full autonomy and that their money in the federation account be channelled directly to the councils.

But the Afenifere faulted the suit, describing the action as “diversionary, hypocritical and playing to the gallery without deep reflection on its implications for a true federal Nigeria.”

Afenifere noted that the suit by the Federal Government was a clear demonstration of the lack of political will to restructure the Nigerian federation.

It added that the Federal Government approaching the court on LG autonomy was against the principle of federalism.

“The prayer of the Federal Government for a declaration that the Constitution of Nigeria recognises federal, state and local governments as three tiers of government and that the three recognised tiers of government draw funds for their operation and functioning from the federation account created by the constitution is  against the established tenet of federalism, which recognises  the central government and federating units as the only two tiers and indeed inconsistent with Section 2 (2) of the same constitution, which  provides that ‘Nigeria shall be a federation consisting of states and a Federal Capital Territory.’

“Afenifere believes that local government is the business of the federating units and thus, the listing and enshrinement in the constitution of the 744 local councils arbitrarily created by the military is antithetical to the principles of federalism, which is the negotiated founding covenants of the Nigerian state,” the communiqué read.

The group maintained its stance on the restructuring of the country, asking President Bola Tinubu to adopt the recommendation of the 2014 Confab to address the LG controversy.

“Afenifere insists that the only solution to this staggering injustice is to delete local governments in the constitution and allow states to have their local governments as recommended by the 2014 national conference and the 2018 El-Rufai committee on federalism, as part of the holistic restructuring of the Nigerian federation. The time is now,” it submitted.

 


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