Fiscal Autonomy Must Be Matched With Autonomy Of Attitude – Says Gov. Bello

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The Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello on Friday said that the fiscal autonomy granted the Judiciary, Legislature and Local Government Councils across the country should be matched with autonomy of attitude for it to work.

Bello disclosed this while responding to a lecture titled: “Autonomy for Local Government, Judiciary and Legislature: Implications for Nigeria”, as part of the 2019 Press Week of the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ), Kogi Council in Lokoja.

The governor who was represented by his chief of staff Chief Edward Onoja said when bad and corrupt people with bad attitudes occupy leadership positions in any of the arms and tiers, the result was likely to be bad governance.

He said that maladministration occasioned by religious, ethnic differences and corruption had thwarted development in the state for decades adding that until the duty bearers had a change of attitude, the autonomy would not make the desired impact.

“In the last three and a half years, this administration has been able to demystify the three monsters and journalists are not seeing or reporting these national attributes”, he said.

Mr Tope Joel, a Principal Lecturer with Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja, earlier in the lecture, said President Muhammadu Buhari granted the fiscal autonomy as a step towards restructuring the country.

titled: “Autonomy for local Government, Judiciary and Legislature: Implications for Nigeria Democracy”, said democracy in the country was endangered.

Joel said democracy in the country was endangered adding that given the current state of trajectory the Nigerian nation has found itself, there was urgent need for devolution of resources and power to the grassroots to empower the citizenry.

“Nigerian citizens at the grassroots have been alienated in resource allocation from the Federation for too long. Most of the resources of Nigeria are being appropriated and consumed by few citizens at Federal and state levels.

He described as marriage of incompatibles and strange bed fellows the provisions of section 162(5)(6) of the 1999 constitution permitting crediting of local councils’ funds to the states Joint allocation accounts.

The implication of the autonomy, according to him, is that governors have been stripped of their control over local government funds.

“This is very effective means of entrenching democratic values of transparency and accountability which on the long run will entrench Nigerian democracy.

Joel however, called on the Federal Government to put in place, strong measures that would deter state governments from further fiddling with councils’ funds for any reason whatsoever.

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