States haven’t justified clamour for devolution — Shehu Sani

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An insight into why the National Assembly is not enthusiastic about the clamour for devolution of powers to states may have been given by activist Senator, Shehu Sani, even when restructuring of the polity was a campaign promise by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

In a rhetorical poser, the Senator on Monday queried how well most states have fared in the handling of powers devolved to them so far.

He also queried how the states have handled local government elections and funds.

In a tweeter post, the Kaduna State-born senator wrote: “Devolution of power is a good idea;but what is happening to the ones that were devolved to the states;local government elections and local government funds?”

Although its National Chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, once disowned the promise, the party recently set up a committee to advise it on how best to approach it.

However, the chairman of the committee is Mallam Nasir el Rufai, the Kaduna State Governor who has on television rejected the clamour, calling the advocates disgruntled political losers.

Advocates of devolution have argued that the powers currently concentrated in the hands of the Federal Government are to enormous, and contrary to the spirit of federalism which the country professes to practices.

They argue that items like health, education, security, roads, natural resources and courts should be wholly under the control of states.

However, as noted by Senator Sani, there have been complaints by local government employees that their statutory allocations are often cornered by state governments in the guise of joint account, resulting in total absence of activity in that tier of government.

The handling of local government elections by states has also been less than sterling as the exercise is usually marked by executive interference, resulting in 100 percent victories for ruling parties in all seats contested for at the state level.

 

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