“Reduce expectations from FG, focus on states and councils” – APC chieftain advises Nigerians

“If state governments use funds meant for the provision of social infrastructure and other policy execution in their states judiciously, Nigeria would have long overcome many of its challenges.

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“Reduce expectations from FG, focus on states and councils” - APC chieftain, advises,  NigeriansA chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Ayoola Lawal, on Sunday charged Nigerians to reduce their expectation for the provision of social infrastructure and welfare from the Federal Government.

He said Nigerians should rather demand for accountability of funds released to their states and local councils for the provision of social infrastructure at the grassroots at the appropriate quarters.

“Nigerians should be asking about what happens to Federal Government’s budgetary allocations to states and to local councils.

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“They should be asking about what the funds are used for.

“Until Nigerians start asking questions and making demands at the appropriate leadership quarters, not much will be achieved,’’ Lawal, former chairman of the APC in Scandinavian countries told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

He noted that it was regrettable that the centre had been taking blames for the non-performance of many governors and local government chairmen and administrators.

He noted also that while blames of non-performance were misdirected at the Federal Government, governors, lawmakers and local government chairmen were smiling to their banks with funds meant for social infrastructure.

“There is a lot going on in Nigeria that is mind-blowing because those who are supposed to be held accountable are getting away with sleaze and non-performance.

“There is nothing wrong in Nigerians making demands of the Federal Government about certain challenges confronting the nation.

“It is wrong, however, to blame the president for the inability or refusal by states and councils to perform their Constitutional roles.

“If state governments use funds meant for the provision of social infrastructure and other policy execution in their states judiciously, Nigeria would have long overcome many of its challenges.

“For instance, states and local councils should be responsible state and council roads, health centres, sanitation, agriculture, and water supply, among others and not the Federal Government,’’ he said.

Lawal also stressed the need for civil society organisations and non-governmental organisations to begin advocacy on demands from states and councils.

The APC chieftain said that while he identified with Nigerians on on-going, but surmountable challenges, there was need for unity of purpose among all groups.

He said there was a need for massive reorientation nationwide to ensure that the people knew who to hold accountable on what issue.

He told NAN that there was no justification for any governor not hold council elections during his four-year tenure, for instance.

“The Federal Government must ensure enforcement of financial autonomy for councils and increase citizens’ enlightenment to properly engage states and local government leaderships nationwide.

“These measures are fundamental to fostering national development and enhancing President Bola Tinubu’s “Renewed Hope’’ agenda for Nigeria.

“The local government is the cornerstone of democracy and development across the globe, and plays very crucial role in shaping communities and fostering citizen participation,’’ he said.

Lawal also advocated autonomy and empowerment of local authorities so they could discharge their critical roles in national development.

“The autonomy includes their ability to tailor policies and initiatives to address their peculiar needs and to foster innovation and responsiveness.

“This approach will strengthen democracy’s foundation in Nigeria and promote sustainable development at the grassroots, ensuring that Federal Government’s performance is felt directly by the people,’’ he said.

Lawal is the immediate past secretary of the APC Diaspora Chairmen’s Forum.