Stop monthly allocation to states creating LG caretaker committees – Audu Ogbeh to FG

Agric Minister Audu Ogbeh

THE Former Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh has called on the Federal Government to stop the allocation of monthly funds to states where governors establish caretaker committees for Local Government administrations.

He emphasized that governors setting up such committees should not receive funding as it is deemed illegal by the Supreme Court.

Ogbeh suggested that funds should not be sent to such governors, but rather deducted and retained.

Currently, the Federal Government gets 52.68%, and states get 26.72%.

In comparison, LGs get 20.60% of the country’s monthly revenue allocated by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) which operates under the Presidency, and disbursed by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).

The efficiency of the local government system in Nigeria has been hindered by controlling governors accused of mismanaging funds meant for local governance.

“I can’t be sending you money that disappears. You don’t repair primary schools, you don’t do anything, the money vanishes and they say they are paying workers, for which work? Strolling around in the morning and drinking palm wine? These are the issues. Those failures are creating dangerous problems for the country,” he said.

He added that some governors appoint their stooges as caretaker chairmen for local governments, give them stipends and divert the large chunks of the money allocated for local government administration to questionable quarters.

Recall that the Nigerian agriculture minister from 2015 to 2019 backed the move by the Federal Government through the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Lateef Fagbemi, to restore financial and legislative autonomy to local governments in the country.

Ogbeh proposed discontinuing the payment of funds into joint accounts operated by state governments and local governments, advocating for separate accounts solely managed by local government bodies to prevent fund mismanagement.

He criticized the appointment of caretaker chairmen by governors and the diversion of funds intended for local governance.

He further encouraged efforts to grant financial and legislative autonomy to local governments, emphasizing the importance of a functional local government system in addressing social and environmental challenges.

He warned that if governors continue to impede the proper functioning of local governments, the system should be abolished.

“Here you have a system which unfortunately is not working. If it were working, a lot of these problems would not be there. You have a governor in the state and there are 10, 15 local governments, and the local government is failing,” he said.

“What I want to say to Nigerians, if we don’t want the local government system, scrap it, if it were allowed to work, it would have been a fantastic system,” he said.

Ogbeh stressed the need for governors to view local governments as essential partners for community development and the provision of basic amenities.