Interview: Former Kwara Commissioner Backs FG On LG Autonomy

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Hajiya Aisha Ahman Patigi, is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Kwara State, in this interview with ABUL SALAUDEEN, the former Commissioner for Local Government in the state backs the Federal Government’s moves to attain local government autonomy, and President Bola Tinubu’s one year in office, state police among others. Excerpts:

What is your general assessment of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration?

For me, President Tinubu  is doing exceptionally great. We all need to keep in mind sustainable change doesn’t happen overnight, there is light at the end of the tunnel.  And I  tell you for free, this local government autonomy the present administration is embarking on would enhance the day to day good governance at the grassroots if implemented properly and  we all  will rejoice as a nation. President Tinubu’s  Renewed Hope  has changed the socio- economic development of the nation for better. And I want also to add that, with the good intention of the APC-led Federal Government to address the issue of  local government autonomy, this  is what will hit the nail if it is achieved by President Tinubu. This approach indeed has the potential to address fundamental issues from the grassroots level, fostering a bottom-up development strategy. Empowering local governments can lead to more efficient governance, enhanced service delivery, and stronger community engagement. This method can significantly contribute to economic growth and societal transformation, leading to a renewed sense of hope and a change in mindset across the nation. Honestly, If  LGA autonomy is done and implemented properly, it will give us the domino effect. 

There are agitations in some quarters for the establishment of State Police in the country, what is your comment on the issue?

The establishment of state police is a contentious issue. While it could enhance localized security and ensure that policing is more in tune with community needs, its effectiveness is contingent upon the successful implementation of local government autonomy. Without a solid foundation of autonomous and accountable local governance, state police might not achieve the desired outcomes and could even exacerbate existing issues of power and resource misuse.

What can you say about the relevance  of local government autonomy in Nigeria?

 Absolutely. Let’s think of the government structure as a family. The Federal Government is the father, the state government is the mother, and the local government is the children. In this analogy, there’s even a fourth tier, which is the traditional rulers. Focusing on the third tier the local government is autonomy is crucial for a thriving society.

 Can you elaborate  more on why local government autonomy is so essential?

Take the United States as an example. They have counties, states, and a federal government, and their system works efficiently because of this structured autonomy. Citizens can address issues directly with their local government officials, ensuring swift resolution. This model allows state governors to focus on broader developmental goals rather than being bogged down with local issues that don’t necessarily need their direct intervention. It’s about empowering each level of government to perform optimally, which ultimately benefits the community from the bottom up.

How does this relate to the recent actions of the Nigerian president taking the 36 states to court over local government autonomy?

The president’s decision to take this matter to court is commendable. It shows a commitment to ensuring that the constitutional provisions for local government autonomy are respected. This move is crucial for Nigeria’s progress, as it aims to clarify and enforce the distribution of power among federal, state, and local governments.

How do you envision this legal action impacting local governance in Nigeria?

 If successful, this legal action will reinforce the autonomy of local governments.

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