7 January 2013

Nigeria: Govs Will Continue to Oppose LG Autonomy - Amaechi

Rivers State Governor and Chairman of Nigerian Governors' Forum (NSF), Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi said, at the weekend, that Nigerian governors would continue to oppose calls for local government autonomy.

He pointed out that Local governments, in their estimation, should not be designated as federating units.

Governor Amaechi declared his stand for the umpteenth time when he fielded questions from newsmen.

He said that governments all over the world maintain two tiers of governance and, therefore, insisted that the Governors forum, as a pressure group, would continue to push its opposition to local government autonomy through the ongoing constitution amendment exercise.

"Of course, yes, we will continue to oppose autonomy of local governments. Let a state governor or let the states create as many local governments as they want to create.

"Don't put it there as a constitutional issue. Okay, you say for instance, you are accusing some governors of mismanaging resources, how? I have given example in Rivers state where not only do they collect their money directly, they collect 'my' N2 billion monthly.

"Ask them, I pay the salaries of all their teachers and that is N2billion per month. If you take away that one, my wage bill will come down to N6 billion per month."

The governor further said; "The governors are a pressure group, if we succeed in putting the pressure on both National and State Assemblies and say look there are two tiers of governance, governors are one of the most patriotic elements in this country. I say to you. "Look there is no country in the world that there are three federating units, there are only two all over the world. Why should you say that there must be a third federating unit in Nigeria."

Governor Amaechi also denied insinuations that governors were frustrating the ongoing constitution amendment exercise and said that on the contrary, the governors were cooperating with the National Assembly on the amendment exercise.

He said: "How will I know that? Just tell me one role the governors are playing in the process. Are we the legislative arm of government? That question does not require an answer because what he (Senator Adeyemi) is saying is that there is no state Assemblies and National Assembly, the governors have constituted themselves into state Assemblies and the National Assembly too."

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