The worsening security situation in the country has been blamed on the lack of a functional local government system arising from inefficiency and the absence of fiscal federalism to enable it to carry out its constitutional responsibilities.
The founder of Ned Nwoko Foundation, Ned Nwoko, disclosed this on Saturday in Abuja when he delivered a Democracy Day lecture titled ” Getting It Right Ahead of 2023″ organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) FCT Correspondent Chapel.
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He called on the federal government to muster the courage and liberate the local governments from the hands of the state governments who have continued to dominate and control their affairs.
Nwoko also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call for a conference where all contending voices and groups like Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Ohaneze Nd’Igbo and Afenifere will present their grievances.
He noted that this would put a stop to the various agitation rocking the country.
According to him: “Any crime is local, it is high time the president called on all the local government areas to know that henceforth, they have to take charge of the security in their domain.
“And be empowered to do it through fiscal support, work with the intelligentsia, traditional institution and the security agencies in the local government with the federal government.
“In no time, the youth who are mainly people that suffered lack of jobs in the local government will become engaged.
“So, we need local government autonomy in all ramifications.
“I know the state governors will fight against it because they use the local government for their elections. This is what the President must give to Nigerians.
“If we fail as a nation or this administration or the government fails today, it is the president that has failed.
“All the chairmen I have spoken with are eager to ensure that they have independence.”
‘INEC not independent’
He also said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not operating as an independent body and according to its mandate.
Nwoko said the INEC should be made a first-line charged agency to be insulated from the control of the executive arm of government.
According to the former lawmaker, INEC should be allowed to appoint its own commissioners and other sensitive appointments in order to guarantee its independence.
He explained that only a truly independent electoral body would guarantee a free and fair election in 2023.
While speaking on the rift between Twitter and the federal government, Nwoko commended the decision of the government to suspend the site’s operations in Nigeria.
He said the federal government’s decision to compel Twitter to establish its presence in Nigeria would guarantee employment of Nigerians amongst other benefits.