Lawan tells governors to practice what they preach on restructuring

Lawan says the diminished local government system must be functional and efficient.

Ahmad Lawan [Tope Brown]

Many Nigerians have over the years demanded the decentralisation of powers to sub-national governments, a topic that consistently divides opinion.

The Southern Governors' Forum this week said Nigeria's progress requires urgent and bold steps to restructure the country to practice true federalism.

They demanded state police, a review of revenue allocation formula, and creation of other institutions to give more power to sub-nationals.

While addressing the press at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Thursday, May 13, 2021, Lawan said calls for restructuring are genuine, but governors themselves have an important initial role to play.

"I believe that as leaders those of us who were elected must not be at the forefront of calling for this kind of thing because even if you are a governor you are supposed to be working hard in your state to ensure that this restructuring you are calling for at the federal level you have done it in your state as well.

"This is because what you may accuse the federal government of whatever it is, you may also be accused of the same thing in your state," the Senate President said.

Local governance in Nigeria has been considered dead for years due to the overbearing influence of governors who micro-manage the affairs of the tier that is closest to the people.

Lawan said the diminished local government system must be functional and efficient especially to address Nigeria's security challenges.

"We must go back to our local government to ensure that the local government continues to be autonomous, continues to be functional in order to compliment whatever the States and the Federal Government would be doing," he said.

President Muhammadu Buhari has resisted calls for restructuring the country, but the National Assembly is currently reviewing the 1999 constitution to address it, with public hearings on proposals already scheduled for late May.

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