The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara has said increasing lack of interest and level of discontentment by the generality of Nigerians will be greatly reduced when local government systems work effectively.
Dogara who noted this in a statement issued by his media aide, Turaki Hassan, said there is a chance to meet up with the expectations of Nigerians as the ongoing Constitution amendment exercise affords lawmakers the opportunity to improve on governance from the grassroots to the top.
The Speaker who said these at a consultative meeting with representatives of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) and leaders of thought on local government added that “the amendment exercise could not have come at a better time than now that there is a loud and deafening call across the nation for restructuring and deepening our democratic systems and processes.
As leaders, we must use every opportunity to find ways of strengthening Nigeria’s unity through effective governance and delivery of public goods and services that will lead to an improvement in the livelihoods of the average Nigerian.
If we can make the local government system work effectively, most of the discontentment and disenchantment among the rural population and the generality of Nigerians will be greatly reduced.
The Constitution amendment process provides an opportunity for the National Assembly in collaboration with the State legislatures to enhance our governance architecture, strengthen our democratic institutions, entrench equity and social justice in our polity and most importantly put Nigeria on the path of greatness that Nigerians crave for.
Dogara also disclosed that in the last aborted Constitution amendment exercise in the 7th Assembly, all the State Houses of Assembly voted to support autonomy for the State Houses of Assembly, having learnt from the bitter experience of the 2nd Alteration Bill where the State Houses of Assembly on their own turned down autonomy for State Houses of Assembly.
He reinterated his position that financial autonomy for local governments and state House of Assembly will bring good governance and dividends of democracy to the states and rural areas.
Indeed, financial autonomy for the State legislatures is one of the most important ingredients for good governance at the State level.”
Stressing the need for continuous dialogue and consensus building in democratic governance, Dogara said it provides a platform for thorny and divergent views to be discussed, harmonised and addressed amicably.
Democracy in practice, is a process through which government actors and citizens’ representatives continuously dialogue constructively in order to build harmony and consensus on critical and competing issues and interests.
Consultation is a very critical element of any democracy because it provides a platform for thorny and divergent views to be discussed, harmonised and addressed amicably.