Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has tasked the state houses of assembly to speedily ratify the bill seeking total autonomy and devolution of powers to the LGAs in the country.
The vice-president made the call on Friday during a lecture at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS) in Jos.
This comes on the heels of President Muhammadu Buhari disclosing the corruption that within the state government that leaves the Local Government with meager funds to subsist.
Recall that the bill to cede financial autonomy to LGAs across the country was passed by the senate and house of representatives in March.
Osinbajo, who was represented by Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, reiterated how local authorities are vital in nation-building.
He, however, lamented that the third tier of government in the country had, over time, been neglected and subdued.
Osinbajo described as a step in the right direction the ongoing constitutional amendment to have local government more inclusive in governance in the country.
He urged the state assemblies to expedite action on the ratification of the bill as it will promote peace and security in the country.
“While the roles of state governments and their scope of authority appear very well appreciated, local governments remain, in my view, quite undervalued, needing more attention from all of us, better funding, organisational and high quality leadership,” he said.
“As we speak, a bill for local government autonomy is striving hard to pass the threshold of 24 votes required from state houses of assembly, a key milestone towards its passage.
“I believe that efforts being made, through the ongoing constitutional amendment, to cede more responsibilities for control and management of resources to local governments across the country reflect our understanding of how crucial it has become for this tier of government to take full charge of their responsibilities and functions at optimal capacity.
“After all, it is often argued that local government is closest to the people and best placed to impact on their lives.”
On ratification of the bill, he said, “Ratifying the bill that grants local governments fiscal autonomy in Nigeria is indeed a step in the right direction, and we encourage the yet-to-be-decided voters from state assemblies to be considerate in this regard and speedily pass it,” he said.
“The issue of security for example which has posed a significant challenge in the last decades cannot be effectively and consistently tackled with centralised security structure and resources.
“It is clear that Nigeria is too vast to be policed from the centre and the people at the grassroots know the intricacies of their communities better, they know the geography intimately, they understand the ebbs and flows of people and information in a greater deal.
“It is my firm belief that we must strengthen our sub-national administrative units via further devolution of powers and resources for effective performance.”