Community participation seminars dealing assuredly with insecurity from the Presidency’s desk and assuring transparency with local government funds.
This is how candidates of the NNPP ( Rabiu Kwankwaso), Labour Party (Peter Obi), and PDP ( Atiku Abubakar), will deal with the issues between state governors and the FG over poverty and local government over their finances.
The candidates disclosed this at the Arise TV Town Hall Series on Sunday evening.
Kwankwaso noted that during his time as governor he worked on schemes for grassroots service delivery. He said,
“In our blueprint, we created community participation that worked at different levels and enlightened the public on what we meant.
“We had all those communities in all the wards and resources were channeled from the government to those at the grassroots level.
Peter Obi noted that looking at the issue of today, you have to look at the issue of security, which is the federal government.
“Most of the things causing poverty reside on the purview of the FG and I would deal with it,” he said.
On local government resources, he said he was a governor and managed the balance well, stating,
“Go and see how we managed to work with state and local governments to use resources properly in areas of education and primary healthcare. That is what we would do.”
He noted that the major causes of insecurity are issues that need to be sorted out by the FG.
“Effecting appropriate measures that would woo investors rest with the FG,” he noted.
Atiku said when he assumed office in 1999 as vice president, what was handed to him was local government administration.
He added that he gave instruction to the accountant general that all government allocation should go to them straight.
After implementing the policy for 9 months, governors protested, saying it was not constitutional, which the FG noted. There should have been a joint account at the state level, where local government funds should be transferred.
He said that is where we have problems, citing that some state governors started taking from the local governments; some said they will build Universities; some said local governments should contribute to certain projects, “which were depleted until local governments were left with nothing.
“Most importantly, we must look at laws, particularly the constitution, and see how to make them more independent financially and protect their interests,” citing that there are a major flaws in our laws as far as local government finances are concerned.
For the record: Recall Nairametrics reported last week that the federal government blamed the state governors for the rising poverty levels across the country.
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, apportioned the blame and also challenged state governors on the need to address the poverty among rural dwellers to make life more meaningful for them.
Governors abandoned villagers: While noting that 72% of the poorest people in Nigeria reside in rural communities, Agba claimed that the governors have abandoned the critical demography, preferring to spend state resources on the capital cities instead. He said,
“The governors are functioning in their state capitals. And the democracy that we preach about is delivering the greatest good to the greatest number of people. And our demography shows that the greatest number of our people live in rural areas, but the governors are not working in the rural areas.”