From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos
A Businessman and gubernatorial aspirant in the 2015 election in Delta State, Tony Prest, has promised to empower the state’s local government councils to perform better, saying his administration would ensure that the third tier of government is granted autonomy to bring more dividends of democracy to the grassroots.
The chairman of Prest Group while speaking at a grassroots volunteer recruitment tour at the weekend attributed the problems of Local Government administration in the country to lack of financial autonomy, corruption and undue interference in local government affairs with regards to the arrears of joint state local government accounts, which gives the state government undue benefit over the councils.
“Our government will work with the legislative arm of government and other relevant stakeholders in the council’s administration sector, like the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) to make legislation that will foster council autonomy in Delta State.
“Our administration will commit one hundred million naira per council monthly from our security vote to life-changing projects in each of them. Consequently, we will do everything possible to see that the councils get all constitutionally guaranteed funds to enhance their autonomy and smooth running,” he said.
Prest noted that the autonomy shall be fully consummated in a free and fair electoral process that will guarantee popular participation in the election of local government administrators. We will work out an arrangement with the federal allocation system to enable Delta State Local Government funds go directly to councils or we will remit directly to them.
“We will not interfere with council finances or the election of Local Government administration agents. All this will be done in good faith with the aim of creating autonomy and bringing real development closer to the people,” he stated.