From Noah Ebije, Kaduna

The Arewa Think Tank (ATTK) has backed President Bola Tinubu in ensuring that local governments are given financial autonomy in the administration and running of the grassroots component of development.

President Tinubu recently criticised governors over what he termed overbearing influence on the administration of local government councils in the country by the governors.

A statement by the Chief Convener of ATTK, Muhammad Alhaji Yakubu, noted that cases of accountability and ineffectiveness hinder the growth of local council authorities, adding that state governors must be held accountable for lack of adequate development at the grassroots.

“We believe that Tinubu is doing his very best to enhance the revenue base of the country, and as such, the governors must equally be sympathetic, and they must urgently consider the needs of the local people.

“People reside in the local communities. That is where they work, farm, and live. If the local governments are not effective in delivering services, leaders must not hang on to the numbers.

“We have 774 local government areas, but are they truly effective? Do they solve problems for Nigerians? Do they coordinate development programmes with the state and federal governments?

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“Who is being held accountable for the performance of the 774 local governments? These are some of the questions we must find answers to if we must develop our grassroots.

“We are happy that the House of Representatives has expressed its readiness to support President Tinubu’s push to grant independence to local governments, a move targeted at enhancing democratic governance at the grassroots level.

“It gladdens our hearts that the Federal Government dragged the 36 state governors before the Supreme Court, seeking the enforcement of full autonomy for the local governments.

“Among the injunctions the government is urging the apex court to issue is an order prohibiting the state governors from embarking on unilateral, arbitrary and unlawful dissolution of democratically elected local government chairmen, and constituting caretaker committees to succeed them. We condemned this in its entirety.

“We believe this reform will promote transparency, accountability, and good governance at the local level. The Speaker and the House are eager to work with the executive arm to make it a reality.

“The move aligns with the legislative agenda of the 10th House to promote good governance and empower the grassroots. Local governments are the closest tier of government to the people, and their autonomy is crucial for effective service delivery, economic development, and democratic growth,” the group said.

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