President of the Senate of Nigeria, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, has blamed disturbing security challenges confronting the nation on to lack of a functional local government system.
“We must allow people to participate in governance so that whoever feels he has something to offer to make Nigeria better does so freely without any let or hindrance,” said Lawan while condemning a call for restructuring of the country by the Southern Governors Forum.
According to Lawan, calling for restructuring shouldn’t have come from elected officials. Naija News understands that Lawan’s statement was coming moments after the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila had argued that the agitation for restructuring may be genuine but elected leaders and state governors should not be the ones to champion the movement.
The Speaker said that the present situation does not warrant name-calling, noting that the SGF idea on restructuring is wrong without them first replicating the idea at the state level.
Gbajabiamila said it is better for all stakeholders to assemble together and find solutions to the challenges at hand, admitting that everyone was complicit.
Naija News understands that the two leaders spoke in an interview with State House correspondents after the Eid-Mubarak prayers at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Senate President maintained that the security challenges in the country could be attributed to the absence of a functional local government system. He said, while the nation’s leaders seek solutions to the security crisis confronting the nation, the Local Government system should not be neglected.
He explained further that the lack of autonomy potentially inhibits solutions as well as efforts by the Federal and state governments towards addressing the nation’s security challenge.
He said, “We are all leaders and we are in this together, the solutions must come from us regardless of what levels of leadership we are – whether at the Federal Level, State Level, or even at the Local Government level.
“I also want to take this opportunity to say that we have diminished the local government system. I think we can attribute the security issues to the absence of a Functional Local Government System. “I think the time has come for us to take up the challenge and ensure that the Local Government system functions. This is as we look for ways to curb the security challenge. “We must never neglect the local government system. We must go back to our local government system to ensure they are autonomous and functional.”
On the call by the Southern Governors Forum for the restructuring of the country, Lawan said, “I believe that, as leaders, especially those of us who are elected into office should not be at the forefront of calling for this kind of thing.
“Because, even if you are a governor, you are supposed to be working hard in your state to ensure that this restructuring you are calling for at the federal level, you have done it in your state as well.
“What you may accuse the Federal Government of, whatever it is, you may also be accused of the same thing in your state. “So, we are supposed to ensure that we have a complete and total way of ensuring that our systems at the federal, state and even local government levels work for the people.
“We must allow people to participate in governance so that whoever feels he has something to offer to make Nigeria better does so freely without any let or hindrance. Urging elected leaders to shun regionalism, Lawan added that “The President is reaching out to all the stakeholders. And I believe that as leaders, particularly those of us who were elected at all levels of government, we should avoid partisanship.
“We should avoid regionalism. We are all leaders and we are in this together. “The solutions to our challenges must come from us regardless of what level of government we are. Whether at the federal, state or local government level. I believe that Nigeria is going to come out of these challenges stronger.”
Lawan further advised Nigerians to support efforts at ensuring the desired autonomy for local governments in the country.
Again Gbajabiamila said those championing the call for secession might have been misguided and do not mean well for the country. On the call for restructuring, he said there might be genuine agitations but explicitly states that elected leaders and state governors should particularly not champion the movement for restructuring without first replicating the idea at the state level.
He called for a national spirit of oneness, saying that “If truth be told, we all have equal shares in the blame for what’s happening today.
“Whatever challenges we have, we must all come together to make sure that we resolve these issues we’re facing. We must imbibe that spirit of oneness, togetherness, unity and love that would take us through this.”
Gbajabiamila said the Eid celebration should be a period of sacrifice, love, and worship amid the spate of insecurity in the country, adding that it was not the time for name-calling or trading blames as everyone is complicit.
Meanwhile, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has rejected calls from some quarters for the removal of the embattled Sarkin Fulani of Igangan, Alhaji Salihu AbdulKadir.
The Fulani socio-cultural organization appealed to the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, and the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III to ignore calls for the dethronement of the Sarkin Fulani.
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