Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has disclosed how governors vehemently opposed direct allocation to local governments while he was vice president of the country.
The PDP candidate made the disclosure at the Arise TV town hall on Sunday.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Thursday accused governors of stealing the allocations of LGAs in their states.
Speaking on the issues, Atiku, who was vice president of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007, narrated how governors used constitutional loopholes to stop the direct allocation of funds to local government.
He added that Nigeria has a “fundamental flaw in our legislation” as far as local government funding is concerned and it must be fixed.
“When I assumed office in 1999, what was handed over to me was the local government administration. When it was handed over to me, I gave instructions to the accountant general that all local government allocations should be transferred to the local governments straight. After implementing that policy for nine months, the governors protested that that was not constitutional,” he said
“So we looked at the constitution, and they said there was supposed to be a joint account at the state level where local government funds should be transferred and also the state government was supposed to put a certain percentage of their revenue into that account, and it (the local government funds) was then moved to that joint account.
“Then, the local governments started getting their funding through the state joint accounts and that is where we have problems. In that process, some state governments started taking part in the local government finances. Some said they were going to run universities with the state governments, some said local governments should contribute to certain projects in the state. At the end of the day, the funds were being depleted and the local governments were left with no funding, and in fact, it has gone to virtually nothing now.
“We must look at the laws and see how we can make these local governments independent and protect them when funds are sent from the federal government. I think there’s a major flaw in our laws regarding that.”