The committee on true federalism set up by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to collate the views of Nigerians has recommended the abolition of local government as a third tier of government from the country’s constitution. The committee chaired by Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai will present its report to the public today. Confirming the submission of the report today, APC national publicity secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said yesterday that the public presentation is part of the process that will lead to its validation by other organs of the APC before the party’s final position would be announced. On the scrapping of local government from the constitution, the committee report obtained by LEADERSHIP noted: “ In conformity with conventional principles of federalism, LGAs should be no more than administrative units and in line with empirical findings during consultations, the committee recommends that the LGA should be removed from the federal constitution and states be allowed to develop a local administrative system that is relevant and peculiar to each respective states”. The special panel also endorsed the establishment of state police, including a recommendation that the Petroleum and Land Use Acts be amended to allow all the states to control their mineral resources, except as it affects offshore oil. While submitting the committee report to the National Working Committee (NWC) at the APC secretariat last Thursday, Governor el-rufai had hammered on the subject, saying the committee was surprised at the outcome of the submissions it received on the matter. He said, “Local government autonomy is a very interesting subject in which we were surprised at the outcome. There were divergent opinions on this issue. We recommend that the current system of local government administration provided for by the constitution should be amended and that states should be allowed to develop and enact laws to have local government administration system that is peculiar to each of them. “What we heard from Nigerians is that as far as local government is concerned, there is no one size fits for all. We all come from different histories, different cultures, different administrative systems and we believe that the constitution should ensure that there is a democratic local government system in every state. But considering the details of and the nature of that local government system, the number of local governments should be left to the states and state houses of assembly. “We proposed amendments to Sections 7, 8, 162, the first schedule, part one and the first schedule of the constitution to give effect to our recommendations. The section that lists the local governments and their Headquarters should be removed so that local governments are no longer named in the constitution. “States can create their local governments and determine the structure of their local governments. We are by this, recognizing that in a federal system, you cannot have more than two tiers of government. Having three tiers of government is an aberration. There is nowhere in the world where our research has shown us that you have more than two federating units.” On resources control, the committee in the report noted the “the growing agitations for states to exercise control over natural resources within their respective territories and pay taxes or royalties therefrom to the Federal Government”. el-Rufai argued during his presentation that, while there will be amendment to legislations governing this, the “Petroleum Act will be amended to show that states can now issue oil mining licences; the Land Use Act, Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act, the Petroleum Profit Tax Act 2007 would all need to be amended. “So, we have proposed amendment that will ensure that minerals, mining and oil are vested in the states except offshore minerals”, he added. The APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, promised that the report will be considered and decided upon by mid-February by the various organs of the party. Oyegun said: “I am going to promise that before the middle of February, it would have been considered and decided upon by the major structures of this party, the NEC and the Caucus of the party. And whatever is thereafter agreed will be presented to the authorities as the considered views and decisions of the APC for appropriate implementation”.
-Culled from Leadership