August 17, 2011
LAGOS—The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, yesterday advised President Goodluck Jonathan to jettison his proposed constitutional amendment that aims to scrap existing States/Local Government Councils Joint Accounts.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said scrapping the accounts and allocating the LGCs’ share of the Federation Account directly to them will amount to making LGCs federating units, which can stifle development and deal a further blow to the nation’s wobbly federalism.
It said the argument in certain quarters, which may have propelled the President to push the amendment – that the States deduct from the LGC funds thus leading to lack of development – does not warrant a constitutional amendment that will fundamentally alter – in the negative sense – the nation’s federalism.
ACN said the answer is not to allocate funds directly to the LGCs but to publish, as it is being done already, whatever is allocated to the LGCs, and also ensure that the relevant agencies of government are alert to their responsibilities.
The party said allocating money directly to Chairmen of LGCs will not translate to more development, as they (Chairmen) will simply be subjected to withering pressure by local, grassroots leaders (who ordinarily don’t have such access to State Governors), many of whom believe such allocations should be shared.
Commenting further on the amendment being proposed by the President, the ACN said under the current Constitution, the Federal and State Governments are the federating units, while LGCs are mere administrative units of State at the local levels.by Vanguard