**advocates abrogation of State INECs
Former member of the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003 Ned Nwoko has identified the lack of autonomy for Local Government as the root cause of every other challenge facing Nigeria today.
Speaking as a guest lecturer on June 12, Democracy Day lecture titled ‘Getting it right ahead of 2023’ organised by the Federal Capital Territory NUJ Correspondent Chapel, he also blamed Nigerian Governors for not allowing the autonomy for Local Government to see the light of day.
According to him, Local Government autonomy is the beginning and end of all Nigeria’s problems
He said he was happy and sad when President Buhari talked about the mess in the Local Government system.
He said he was happy because at least the President knows what is happening but he is sad because he has failed to do anything.
“If N300m is earmarked for the Local Government N100m does not get to them the president said it, he knows about it. Then what is stopping him from working with the National Assembly to ensure there is autonomy?
Nwoko said the President can issue an executive order on the matter, especially as the Local Government workers have been pushing for the autonomy
“The idea of sending the money meant for the Local Governments to States in the name of joint account gives room for pilfering
He said every crime is Local and if the 744 Local Government are empowered, no Local Government would be occupied by insurgency.
“The State Governors cannot deal with the issue because they don’t believe it is their obligation. You can imagine if each Local Government chairmen and the councillors are empowered to do it working with traditional rulers
He said even at the Local Government level the chairmen and councilors can not be trusted but he said the EFCC, ICPC, DSS and the CCT are there to do the monitoring on how they manage the funds.
The former lawmaker said the allocation would not be a windfall going forward as Nigeria prepares for the next Local Government that would become autonomous that will give comfort to every citizen.
According to him, youth restfulness is also Local hence with Local Government autonomy that is well funded, chairmen and councilors must work hand in hand with the traditional institution to ensure there is security, that would be the way to go .
To rescue the Local Government system he advocated for something like the doctrine of necessity as the processes that are required to make any major ammendment may take time
“We should not be bogged down by certain constitutional matters if we believe that some steps ought to be taken for the interest of Nigerians, they should be taken.
“I know for instance that the issue of the Joint Account for the payments to Local Government is a constitutional matter but if you listen to the President literary cry about the collapse of the Local Government system, do you now say that we should just wait until such laws are amended and continue to allow the stealings? No.
“What we want is a solution and the solution should be introduced as soon as possible while steps are taken to deal with the issues of ammendment. “We cannot say we will not do anything until the ammendments because
Many Governors oppose Local Government autonomy vehemently, they don’t want to hear about Local Government autonomy because that is the only way they can win elections by planting the chairmen who are their boys to various local Governments but “I am glad that the President has identified this as a major problem and if he does not take the steps to address the issue now as he might do because he is saying that the National Assembly is there.
“National Assembly is also made up of people who were supported by their Governors do you think that senators and House of Representatives members would go against their Governors?
“Most of them are not independent minded, they are not thinking about the people but how they will win election again. So their loyalty is to their Governors.
“So I can say Governors are the biggest problem we have in Nigeria now. They are, you can quote me.”
“Every month they come to Abuja and share the monthly allocations go back to their States we know what they do with that, some of them squander it while some utilise it in the payment of salaries but the circle continues they are not creative on how to develop the economy, how to broaden .
This our basic problem. If the economy of Nigeria were to be good and every one is engaged, all the cries of bandits, Bokoharam, yahoo boys would be less.
“I want to assure you that all those people who do those things did not chose them it is because of the economy, the hopelessness of their situation.
“If a young graduate gets a good job, a mudgage to buy house and a car and some comfort to go on holiday with his family why would that person be agitating for another nation or to become a kidnapper.”
Nwoko who is also a Nigerian Lawyer identified the State Independent Electoral Commissions as another major contraption that needs to be addressed as most of the problems in Nigeria starts from there.
“Abrogate state INEC and put in place a truly independent INEC run by independent body not by any elected person
Nwoko said the State INECs can not work because they are bogus arrangement that give power to any party that control the states.
“There should be only one truly independent central INEC that would be devoid of the influence of the Federal Government, that will have direct funding from the Federation account on statutory basis
He advocated for an Umbdsman, an independent Body that will manage INEC, composed of 20 most popular pressure groups to form the board like the NBA, NANS, NUJ, NURTW, NMA, and so on.
“They should be put together as the board and the presidency rotated every two years
“We must get INEC working, INEC is not working because as it is now Federal Government can control INEC.”
He expressed the hope that there would be election in 2023 and that some credible leaders would be elected otherwise the same scenario would continue to play
He said there is urgent need for the Government of the day to convene a National Conference
“We have seen a flurry of activities across all over seeking to advise the President, let there be a central turning point. Six months Conference to listen to all Nigerians. If that is done all killings would stop, whether it is Bokoharam, Bandits, they should be invited to state their grievances and be forgiven.
“Let them send their representatives, they have their own grievances as reason for what they do.”
He also canvassed for a referendum to determine regional demands
“Most of those clamoring for country of their own is because the economy is not working. He said the economy for a long time does not make provision for the youth, and any economy that does not provide employment for the people is not a good economy.”
He said Government has to address the issue of mudgage banks, finance companies, survival of the fittest, cash and carry , people can not own houses cars through mudgage,
“The Government has a long way to go to fix the economy. Where banks are not lending money to people, where banks determine interest rates. It is unacceptable, Government has to be hard on this.
“Government can make policy that bank can not lend with more than 2% interest rate. Government should look at the economy and look at the lending, it should give them targets.
He said Buhari Must do what is needful for the next election to be credible
How Ghost workers swindle Dutse LG N2.5m monthly, by Chairman Verification Panel
From: Ahmed Rufa’i, Dutse
The Chairman house committee on education in the Jigawa state house of Assembly, Honourable Suraja Kantoga has disclosed that Dutse local government council loses N2.5 million to ghost workers on monthly bases.
The law maker made the disclosure while submitting a committee report on its findings from a verification exercise for primary and junior secondary school teachers in Dutse local government area.
He indicated that during the sitting over the matter, they discovered that about 84 teachers were accused of different offences.
According to him the committee ordered stoppage of payment of monthly salary of 16 teachers for lack of competence and absence of approved paper qualifications fir teaching.
“The committee also directed two teachers to refund two months salary having been indicted by the committee.”
He added that 13 teachers were without minimum paper qualification for teaching, adding that the committee recommended retirement for three teachers.
“So also 14 teachers without teachers registration council.
“The committee discovered that 29 teachers were promoted illegally just as one teacher was recently employed illegally”.
Receiving the report, the Dutse Council Chairman, Hon. Bala Usman Chamo commended the Committee for a good job done, assuring that the implementation of the committee report will go a long way in injecting sanity, transparency, and social justice in the local government administration.
Chamo who is also the ALGON Chairman, in the state reiterated the resolve of the present administration to reposition local government administration in the state, assuring that the report would be implemented.
3 children die after Building collapse in Jigawa
From Ahmed Rufa’i, Dutse
A heavy downpour Monday night has left three children of one family at Yakasawa village in Ringm local government area of Jigawa state dead
Police Public Relations Office (PPRO), ASP Lawan Shisu of the Jigawa State command in a statement issued in Dutse said the deceased died as a result of building collapse
According to the statement it was the father of the deceased that noticed the building where the children were sleeping had caved when he raised alarm.
“He immediately rushed to check on the⁷the 7868p8m only to find all of them buried beneath the debris.
With the aid of police operatives and local community volunteers, the debris were removed while the bodies of the victims wereļ evacuated and rushed to Ringim General Hospital”.
ASP Shisu disclosed that all the children were confirmed dead by a medical doctor at the Hospital
He listed the deceased to include one girl and two boys identified as Naima Garba 14, Umar Garba 12 and Sale Garba 8 all of same family.
Embrace Agriculture, reduce violent extremism, ActionAid Nigeria urges youths
By Friday Idachaba
ActionAid Nigeria, an international NGO has charged youths in the country to embrace Agriculture to check the growing unemployment rate and reduce spate of violent extremism in the country.
Project Officer with ActionAid Nigeria, Mr Friday Ogezi, made the call on Saturday at the 2021 Youth Summit on Preventing Violent Extremism in Kogi State at Abache and Emekutu in Ankpa Local Government.
Ogezi said the summit was in commemoration of the 2021 International Youth Day themed: Transforming Food System: Youth Innovation in Peace Building Through Climate Change Mitigation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the summit was organised by by ActionAid in collaboration with Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change In Development (PIBCID) with funding from Global Community Engament Resikience Fund (GCERF).
The Project Officer said the way forward for the country and the world today remained Agriculture and charged youths to play prominent roles in the evolving practice of Agriculture as Business through their involvement.
The state Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Idris Musa (alias Oando),charged Nigerian youths to take their destinies in their hands and work patiently towards achieving them through legitimate and lawful means.
He urged youths reduce their reliance on government for provision of employment as over dependence in the prevailing circumstances in the country would only result in frustrations.
He opined that for youths to excel, they must have the fear of God and utmost respect for their parents adding that they must be creative, learn skills and embark on fruitful ventures including farming activities.
Vice-Chairman, Ankpa Local Government Council Mrs Martha Moses, in her remarks charged youths to build and prepare themselves for leadership positions.
She charged them to be focused, firm, diligent and committed in their endeavours rather than making yourselves willing tools in the hands of dubious persons to perpetrate electoral violence and other forms of fraudulent practices.
She particularly urged female youths to strive to acquire skills and pursue education to have sustainable livelihood and advised them against illicit and unholy affairs saying, “If you rubbish yourself, you will be rubbished.”
Coordinator of National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) Ankpa Local Government Mallam Suleiman Yakubu,
urged youths to key into the IYD theme for 2021 and embrace agriculture especially tree planting and afforestation for their economic benefits.
He decried the deforestation and abandonment of agricultural activities by the youths and enjoined them to embrace agriculture saying that the practice had transcended the subsistence level to lucrative agribusiness platforms.
NAN reports that the summit also featured a presentation by Mr Emmanuel Ocheje, an Agricultural Economist on Youth Involvement in Ecosystem Protection and Involvement in Food System and Market Development.
NAN further reports that the Youth Summit simultaneously took in all the 12 System and Structure Strengthening Approach to Radicalisation to Violent Extremism (SARVE) II ActionAid project communities in six Local Government Areas of the State
The communities include Ujagba, Ugbedomagwu, Tajimi, Ette, Koton-Karfe, Osisi, Osaragada/Aku, Inata, Ukowa, Emekutu and Abache, in Igalamela-Odolu, Lokoja, Adavi, Okehi, Kogi-Koto and Ankpa LGAs.
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