The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State has criticized President Muhammadu Buhari for his promise to support the grant of autonomy to local government councils in the country to free them from the stranglehold of state governments.
The party which accused Buhari of “playing to the gallery” contended that the issue of autonomy to local councils is the business of state governments and not that of the Federal Government.
It also counseled Buhari against using agencies of the federal government to harass and intimidate functionaries of State governments in the country, despite that “States are autonomous of the Federal Government under the federal system being practiced in the country.”
In a statement on Tuesday by its Publicity Secretary, Jackson Adebayo Ekiti PDP said “the President should rather obey the existing laws of the country and support the restructuring of the country to enable true federalism instead of trying to set the local councils against the States.”
Adebayo said as far as the PDP-led regime in Ekiti is concerned, it is not interfering with the local government administration adding that the issue of autonomy to the councils is a constitutional matter that also involves the National Assembly and 36 State Houses of Assembly.
According to him, the President does not have any authority on local governments in the country as the 1999 Constitution (as amended) conferred the power to legislate on local government administration on the States House of Assembly.
He said: “The President has no authority on the local government. It is a constitutional amendment that requires two-third of the 36 States House of Assembly and even as it is, it only requires the political will from State governors, like we have done in Ekiti State for local governments to function without undue interference from State governments.
“Coming from President Buhari, who has refused to obey the provisions of the 1999 Constitution that he swore to obey, talks about constitutional amendment on local governments administration in Nigeria is at best, playing to the gallery.
“As for us in Ekiti State, without any constitutional amendment, our governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose does not interfere in the affairs of local governments, and it important that President Buhari is reminded that he lacks power to interfere in the running of Ekiti State and other States in Nigeria.?”