Governors fought against direct allocation to LGs during my time – Atiku

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Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, has revealed how governors fought against direct allocation to local governments while he was the country’s vice president.

PDP’s Atiku made the revelation on Sunday while speaking at an Arise TV town hall.

President Muhammadu Buhari had accused governors of stealing LGA allocations in their states.

He found it incomprehensible that some state governors would collect funds on behalf of council areas and only remit half of the funds to council chairpersons.

Nigerians have continued to react to the accusation, with many demanding that the president name the guilty governors.

Speaking on the situation, Atiku, Nigeria’s vice president from 1999 to 2007, described how governors used constitutional loopholes to prevent direct funding allocation to local governments.

He went on to say that Nigeria has a “fundamental flaw in our legislation” when it comes to local government funding, which must be addressed.

“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.”

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