The Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), has called on Nigerians to support the ongoing constitutional review seeking to grant autonomy to local governments.
Dr Otive Igbuzor, the facilitator of the DFID funded programme disclosed this in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja on Friday.
He said the Bill titled; “Distributive Pool Account’’ would help to strengthen local government councils.
According to him, the bill seeks to abrogate the State Joint Local Government Accounts.
“It seeks to empower each local government to maintain its own special account and make provisions for savings.
“From our experience over the years, I think everyone should support local government’s autonomy.
“What is required is a simple majority in at least 24 states out of the 36 state houses of assembly; some governors have endorsed the local government autonomy.
“Citizens, civil society and the media should mobilise support for the idea of local government autonomy because it will be beneficial for our country,’’ he said.
Igbuzor said if the amendment was approved it would go a long way to strengthen governance, accountability and service delivery at the local government level.
He said that the local government would have reasonable control over their funds and administration.
“It would help to strengthen primary education through improved funding that would entail joint contribution from the states and local governments as against the abdication by states.
“It would also enhance stability in payment of teachers’ salaries,’’ Igbuzor said.
He noted that many Nigerians were not informed about the ongoing constitutional amendment, adding that it was the duty of the media and civil society to educate Nigerians on the process.
Igbuzor said about 21 bills seeking amendment to different sections of the constitution had been passed by the National Assembly and awaiting transmission to the state houses of assembly for approval.
Newsmen report that PERL is a five year Public Sector Accountability and Governance Programme, funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) in Nigeria.
PERL brings together governments, groups and citizens to collectively address governance challenges for improved delivery of public goods and services