The Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has said that local governments are under absolutely control and ambience of states, and that the only organ of the state empowered by the constitution to make laws for them is the state assembly.
Aregbesola spoke during a courtesy visit and conferment of Nwannedinamba Ndigbo of Osun State and Ezinne Ndigbo on him and his wife by the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in the state in partnership with the Association of Ndi Ezeigbo N’uzo Ije (Diaspora) and the South East Council of Traditional Rulers in Osogbo.
The governor described the belief ýgaining grounds that local governments should be independent of state governments as totally strange and anti-federalism.
He noted that there are only two tiers of government in a federal system of government, namely the federal government and the government at the federating level.
Aregbesola stressed that it is awkward for Nigeria to be the only federation in the world where there is only one police system, noting that it is strange for the federal government and the constitution not to allow for police in the federating units of the country.
The governor held that the problems with local government administration in the country can be corrected within the laws of the states.
According to him, “Nigeria is not just a republic, but a Federal Republic, a federal state is where every distinction of nationality is recognised, respected and honoured. None of the units of the federation is therefore superior to the other. Every of the units are empowered by law to administer themselves under the general guideline of the constitution.
“Few things are awkward about federalism in Nigeria. Nigeria’s federation is strange to the extent that only one police force maintains law and order. In other federations, there will be a Federal Police force and other federating unit police. Nigerian nationality and people must seek to correct this abnormality.
“Another anomaly that people, because of their frustration to some aspect of administration, are equally making mistake on and need correction is that a federation has two tiers of government. There cannot be three tiers in a federation. The moment you have three tiers, you no longer have a federation.”
Aregbesola emphasised that the problem with the administration of local government can be corrected within the limits of the laws of the state in a federation.
He noted that it is not by assaulting the fundamental principle of federalism that the challenges and weakness being faced by the administration of local governments can be corrected.
The governor enjoined the Igbo community to join in the debate of whether the nation wants federalism or unitary system of government.
He stated that Nigeria, like every other nation with different ethnicity, is blessed for the diversity which he described as beautiful, calling on all and sundry to see each other first as a Nigerians.
He said, “We can be who we are without rancour and doing away with what can bring rancour. We should recognise our differences and avoid hurting one another.
“What will clearly eliminate the hate, the sharp clarity is having good government that will work hard to expand opportunities such that it is not your ethnicity that will determine your benefit, but your citizenship and your commitment to your work,” Aregbesola stated.
Chief John Emeka, who led the traditional Igbo title holders in the South-West region, lauded Aregbesola for his leadership style, stating that they have been monitoring the progress of the state before they decided to bestow on him the Igbo title.
He described Aregbesola as a good manager of human and capital resources particularly at this recession period and the recurring revenue fall in the state and the nation.
He said, “It is not by accident that we are honouring Mr. Governor and his wife. I want to use this occasion to call on all and sundry in the state to support the governor by paying all levies and taxes in his effort to transform Osun to a state where we will all be proud of within the South-West and Nigeria as a whole.”