President Muhammadu Buhari has express his support for any constitutional amendment that would limit the powers of state government over the local government activities.
The president on Thursday, September 15 acknowledged the fact that local governments had been rendered ineffective by the state governments which have taken over major parts of their finances and he described the frosty relationship between states and local government as a very serious constitutional problem.
In a statement signed by his media aide, Garba Shehu, Buhari stressed that a constitutional amendment was urgently required to clearly define the relationship among the three tiers of government.
“The relationship between the three tiers of government is not a very nice one, especially that between the local governments and the states.
“The states feel like they own the local government, if they are of the same party. It is worse if they are not.
“This is a very serious constitutional problem and unless there is absolute clarity and transparency, the relationship will continue to be exploited against the interest of the ordinary people of the country.”
President Buhari advised the ALGON leadership to quickly draft an amendment to the Constitution and push same through the legislature.
“This will limit the damage they can do to you. The quicker you do this the better, so that you can help your people much more.”
The local government officials also used the medium to remind Mr. Buhari about a pending $3.2 billion which the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo deducted from local government allocation as part of the 2005 national debt settlement.
Ibrahim Karaye who is the Acting National Chairman of ALGON, appeal to Mr. Buhari help resolve the stalemate. However, Buhari said the government recognised the judgment debt but that the timing of the request for its repayment was wrong because of the current economic situation in the country.