RE: APC REPORT ON LOCAL GOVT AUTONOMY:

At the risk of being branded an APC Apologist, without conceding, the recommendation of removing LGAs from the constitution and empowering states to provide for their existence, structure and number, is in tandem with age old principles of federalism .

It is trite law that LGAs are not federating units in a federal system! In our federalism, the federating units are state Governments and federal (central) governments!

In Balogun v LAGOS state Govt, the court held that LOCAL GOVTS ARE AGENTS OF STATE GOVTS!!

Consequently, It is my considered opinion that it was anachronistic to list Local governments in the constitution as it ought to be left in the residual list reserved for states to create ,superintend, fund and administer as even envisaged under S.7 of the 1999 constitution!

But I have to opine that it is absolutely necessary that certain portions of S.7 of the constitution should be retained to ensure existence of LGAs under all state govts to avoid any state Govt not creating or providing for existence of LGAs in a state!

But it’s structure, finance, number and administration should be left for each state to decide!

AND, all South Easterners should support this as it means that the excessive LG funds sent up north due to undue no (eg,Kano has 44LGS) will now be shared equally amongst states meaning more developmental funds availed our states!

What we should be fighting for now is the creation of at least one more state for the south East or equal no of states per geo political zone!

I therefore support the recommendation of APC committee on Local Govts!!

RT HON G. K. DIKEOCHA (Fmr SPECIAL ADVISER ON LOCAL GOVTS and CHIEFTAINCY AFFAIRS TO FMR GOVERNOR OF IMO STATE, HE. CHIEF ACHIKE UDENWA.

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