(8) The amount standing to the credit of Local Government Councils of a State shall be distributed among the Local Government Councils of that State on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly of the State.
I have taken the time to lay the foundation for this article so that the readers can be informed in forming their opinions on the legality or otherwise of Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) directive on how local government funds are to be disbursed. While it is noble to get the 3rd tier working, it must be done in consonant with the constitution as the grundnorm of the society. From the forgone constitutional provisions, it will only amount to pretending not to see the elephant in the room while chasing a rat. Imperfect as the Nigeria 1999 constitution as amended seems it would appear that there exists a clear provision on the administration and funding of the local government which would need an amendment to accommodate the ingenuity of the National Assembly in the new directive by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).
It would appear to this writer that we have a number of irresponsible individuals at the helms of our states that have no business in public office. Most governors have arrogantly ascribed to themselves the position of emperors who cannot be questioned or demanded to give account of their stewardship. In a saner environment, public offices are held with high sense of responsibility to the extent that holders of such offices resign where there is monumental failure but the reverse seems to be the case here. The more some of them loot our resources, the more accolades, prominence and chieftaincy tittles they get as our illustrious sons!
The drafters of our constitution may have presumed that our governors would be excellent in the use of nation’s resources to have shouldered them with the responsibility of overseeing the local governments through the so-called almighty “joint account.” But the recklessness at which most of the state governors administer their states and local governments has called to question the importance of that provision.
As we attempt to ensure that local government councils are efficiently and effectively run, the need not to replace an evil with another evil is important. The capacity of the local governments to attract the required manpower with the right skill to conduct their activities in an optimal manner with checks and balances without a recourse to the state houses of assemblies is still absent. For instance, can the new directive of NFIU cure this defect? Will it address the issue of dearth of community participation? Will it not empower and embolden new set administrators?