Obasanjo said this at a conference in Babcock University, Ilisan, Ogun State on Tuesday, October 11, 2016.
Recalling how he initiated Local Governments reforms between 1976 and 1979 to make them autonomous, functional and developmental, Obasanjo lamented that the current happenings is saddening.
He said once the FG pays the Local Government, such money were illegally deducted by governors with no LGA chairman daring to question or challenge such illegality in the state.
“I called such fraud, stealing and corruption. It is fraud, it is corruption. They will say they have done something or paid for something for their Local Governments. And when the Local Governments’ money comes, they take it. Who is that chairman that will tell the Governor you have taken our money? You are gone,” he said.
Obasanjo further said that since the 1999 Constitution became operational, LGAs in many states across the country have become the most constitutionally-abused.
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However, the ex-President said only a handful of states had held local government election while others carried on in running local governments without the Constitution that created them.
In his words: “The constitution envisages that the with the allocation from the Consolidated National Revenue Account to the Local Governments on the states will be added, the contribution of the State into a joint account as funding for the functions of the Local Governments.
“Not only did most of the States contribute nothing in breach of the Constitution, they also devised different dubious programmes and plans by which they took substantial amount of allocation due to the Local Governments.
“With that done, most of the Local Government officials just shared what remained among them without any serious service being undertaken for the people. It is perpetrated by most of the states,” Obasanjo said.
Expressing optimism, the former President said the problems and challenges of LGAs in Nigeria are not beyond solutions, hence they have to be led by men and women who understand the enormous challenges they face and the need to focus primarily on those issues that would enhance the living standards of the masses.