AFRICA, FEATURED STORIES, Politics, TRENDING
Govs wreck LGs, stealing their funds – Buhari says
President Muhammadu Buhari said state governors were looting local government allocation.
He said the stunted development experienced at the local government level was caused by governors and local government officials who “pocket” public funds.
Buhari flayed the governors over what he described as poor governance at the grassroots.
Buhari said this on Thursday at a parley with members of the Senior Executive Course No. 44 (2022) of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.
The President’s comments followed the Course 44 presentation themed, ‘Strengthening Local Governance in Nigeria: Challenges, Options and Opportunities.’
Buhari’s assertion came 24 hours after the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, said the governors had abandoned the critical demographic, preferring to spend state resources on the capital cities instead.
Agba, who noted that 72 per cent of the nation’s poor reside in rural communities, accused the governors of paying scant attention to the grassroots.
Citing a personal experience involving an unnamed governor, a baffled Buhari described as “terrible” how some state governors receive monies on behalf of local government councils in their states and remit half of it to the council chairman who pilfers the remnant, leaving nothing for developmental projects.
He said, ‘‘I found it necessary to digress after reading my speech and this digression is a result of my personal experience. What they did, this is my personal experience, if the money from the Federation Account to the state is about N100m, N50m will be sent to the chairman, but he will sign that he received N100m. The governor will pocket the balance and share it with whoever he wants to share it with.
‘‘And then the chairman of the local government must see how much he must pay in salaries and to hell with development. When he pays the salaries of the big man, the balance he will put in his pocket.
‘‘This is what’s happening. This is Nigeria. It’s a terrible thing; you cannot say the person who was doing this is not educated. He was a qualified lawyer, he was experienced, yet he participated in this type of corruption.”
Continuing, he added, “So, it’s a matter of conscience, whichever level we find ourselves. As a leader, you sit here, with all the sacrifices the country is making by putting you through institutions and getting you ready to lead. The fundamental thing is personal integrity. May God help us.”
The President also pledged that his government would “painstakingly” consider for implementation the recommendations contained in the paper presented by the SEC 44.
While claiming that his regime has done a lot to build trust between the government and the people, the President noted that the report would provide direction to deliver good governance to the people at the grassroots and ultimately win back their trust in the government.
It is obvious that the government cannot afford to pay lip service to the recommendations contained in this report.
‘‘I assure you that the report will be treated with the seriousness and urgency it deserves. The government will study the report with a view to implementing the carefully detailed recommendations,’’ he pledged.
He commended the quality of the report and the commitment and dedication that went into it, saying the National Institute can always be trusted to deliver on very critical and sensitive assignments of national importance.
‘‘The quality of the presentation, and the confidence with which they were made, strongly attests to the quality of training the participants received during the course. I congratulate you for justifying the confidence and trust reposed in each and every one of you by your respective nominations.
‘‘I am also happy with the knowledge and discipline you have all openly demonstrated. I have been briefed on the rigorous training process you all underwent at Kuru. Your graduation, therefore, is well deserved,’’ the President told the 89 participants of Senior Executive Course 44.
He challenged them to return to their various establishments, units, posts, beats, departments, directorates, ministries, parastatals, commissions, commands, and agencies to revitalise, reform and rejig their various platforms and spheres of influence, responsibility and leadership.