The International Director of the Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria and Executive Secretary of Justice Development and Peace Commission, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey, has said restructuring should start with state governors.
Bassey argued that though devolution of power from the Federal Government to the states would solve some problems in the country, governors should support the amendments that have been proposed by the National Assembly, especially with regards to the financial autonomy of the local governments.
He warned that devolving more power to the states without devolving power to the grass roots “would virtually turn all of us to slaves of the governors.”
Bassey said this in a statement emailed to Newsmen, on Saturday, to commemorate his 25 years’ ordination as a priest.
He said, “I urge southern governors to support the amendments that have been proposed by the National Assembly, especially with regards to the financial autonomy of the LGs. If our governors love the people, they should make the LG system work by supporting the amendments.
“Sometimes the impression we get is that the de facto Speakers of the States Houses of Assembly are the governors, because the Assemblies always do their bidding. So at state level, there is only one and a half arms of government: the legislating executive and then a limping judiciary.
“Since generally, we are a very docile citizenry, our governors could help us by abrogating all those laws which have emasculated the LG system and allow it to work, so that our people could build up their capacity to engage with government at the local level.”
While acknowledging that certain things should leave the exclusive list to the concurrent list, the cleric called on the governors to use the enormous powers they already had “to work for the good of the people.”