Govs kill LGs, put senators, Reps under pressure – Ex-minister

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A former Minister of National Planning, Prof Abubakar Sulaiman, has accused state governors of usurping the constitutional powers of the local governments in Nigeria.

Sulaiman, who is the Director-General of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, the academic arm of the National Assembly, lamented that members of the legislature were being forced to carry out roles statutorily meant for the executive arm of the government.

He noted that the primary responsibilities of a lawmaker were categorised into lawmaking, representation, and oversight, stressing that the provision of infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, roads, and water, among others, were borne out of necessity.

The NILDS DG accused the state governors of “killing” the local governments by taking over their resources and rendering them inefficient. According to him, this led to the lawmakers shouldering the infrastructural responsibilities of both the state and local governments.

The ex-minister, in an interview with our correspondent, noted that the zonal intervention projects, popularly known as constituency projects, were borne out of the need to fill the gaps in the performance of the state governments.

He said it should, therefore, be maintained in the annual budget of the Federal Government.

Sulaiman said, “Most of these constituency projects fall within the Residual (Legislative) List and at times, maybe, Concurrent (Legislative List). In the 70s, 80s, and 90s, these were the kinds of projects undertaken by the local governments. But when the governors started to kill the local governments – and murdered that tier of the government, the onus now lies on the parliamentarians to come in.

“Yes, if the local government system could be revived, it would go a long way in addressing most of these lacunas and problems.

“But reviving the local governments is going to be a Herculean task because the governors have seen the local governments as an avenue to make money; as a baby to milk to death. But I want to believe it is a matter of time.”

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