Sagay To State Assemblies: Don’t Support Debate On LG Autonomy

Itse-SagayProf. Itse Sagay, the Former Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Benin, has urged the state lawmakers not to support debate on local government autonomy.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) by telephone on Sunday in Lagos that the recognition of local government as the third tier of government in Nigeria was not even ideal.

According to him, the proposed amendment to the 1999 Constitution is aimed at granting autonomy to local governments.

“It is even wrong in the first place that local governments were given powers and functions directly in the 1999 Constitution.

“Local governments in federal political systems are creations of the state and therefore ought not to enjoy powers in same measures that the constitution grants to the federating units”, he said.

He also noted that Nigeria’s federal political system was contrary to the principle of federalism which recognised only two levels of government which are the federal and state governments.

He said that autonomy for local governments would cause problems of governance for governors.

He observed that in advanced federations such as United States of America, local governments were only mentioned in state constitutions.

“It is ideal that local governments serve the agendas of governors since they are their creations and their agent in a way for overall urbanisation of the state.

“State assemblies that will support amending our federal constitution to give independence to local government from the state do so at the detriment of their development.

“With critical insight to the issue of local autonomy in Nigeria, there is no way two-third of our state assemblies will vote yes to amend our constitution on this subject”, he said.(NAN)