By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs,
Akume who expressed this feeling at a 2-day National Retreat for Local Government Chairmen across Nigeria held Uyo on Tuesday, said that such sad development has deprived people at that level the dividend of democracy.
The Minister noted that the third tier of government was created solely, to attend to the development needs of people at the rural settlements, stressing that embezzling its funds would deepen poverty.
He charged local government chairmen to imbibe the culture of accountability, good governance for effective service delivery.
The former of Benue State said the present administration was determined to ensure that local government funds are judiciously utilise to provide effective and efficient service delivery for the good of Nigerians.
“As a matter of fact, Nigeria will never grow if we sustain a system that allows about one quarter of our resources to be mismanaged by few.
“It has therefore become absolutely necessary to imbibe the culture of accountability, good governance as well as prudent financial management for effective service delivery.
“The important of Local Government as the third tier of government duly recognized by the 1999 constitution (as amended) by the framers of the Constitution is deliberately calculated.
“It is intended to give them access to federally collected resources for enhancement of their wellbeing as well as raising their standard of living.
“Therefore, misrule and mismanagement of both human and material resources at this level means sentencing a large number of our people to abject poverty, disease and squalor,” he added.
He decried that, “many local government headquarters across the country had long become deserted, with a good number of them overgrown with weed”.
The Minister warned Chairmen across the Federal against mismanagement of Councils’ funds meant to be properly managed for the benefits of the people at the grassroots.
He described the theme of Retreat, “Good Governance, Resource Mobilisation and Financial Management for Rural Development”, as very significant.
In his goodwill message, Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom the said that Akwa Ibom is home to anglophone West Africa first experiment of local government administration.
The Governor, who was represented by Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, the Secretary to the State Government, commended the Minister for choosing the State for the Retreat.
Emmanuel said that the state was maintaining a good relationship with the local government administration in order to ensure quality service delivery.
Also speaking, Mr Frank Archibong, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in Akwa Ibom said that good governance would be achieved if resources both human and materials are mobilised.
“This Retreat for me is resource mobilisation because this is where you come and impact knowledge on how the system could be better managed,” Archibong said.