ABEOKUTA—Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State yesterday gave his strong backing for the autonomy of local governments in the country, saying that any governor opposed to it must be benefiting from his state-local government joint account.
Speaking to newsmen on his first working day in office after a tour of the ministries in the Governor’s Office, the governor said: “I support President Muhammadu Buhari on this local government autonomy. We are creating Local Council Development Areas. We are waiting for the new State House of Assembly to be inaugurated because this outgoing Assembly could not have completed it if they had opened discussion on it.
“By July, all local government chairmen will be completing their three years tenure in office and we are going to conduct LG elections and creation of the LCDAs. That is what we want to do.
“The autonomy issue is in my interest. Some governors said that granting autonomy to LGAs is not going to favour them. Those governors that the autonomy thing will not favour are those governors that deduct from local government allocation from the federal allocation.”
Affirming that there was nothing tempting to attract anyone towards the local government funds, he said: “Truly, what is coming from the Federal Allocation is no longer enough. There is no money. For me, this development will even put more challenge on the LGs and LCDAs. If they want autonomy, let them take their autonomy.
“If they can’t pay salaries, they won’t come back to me. If they can’t pay teachers or embark on developmental projects, they know that they are the ones that cannot pay and not the state.
“Our traditional rulers are there when they are having their JAAC meeting. For me, I want them to have the autonomy, even as I speak now, the allocation from the federal account is grossly inadequate.”