The Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District and a frontline Governorship Aspirant for the 2021 Anambra Governorship election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Uche Ekwunife has once again restated the need for local governments autonomy in Nigeria.
Ekwunife stated this during a virtual meeting with some Stakeholders on Sunday. She noted that local government is an essential tier of government which is today ineffective in many States due to the overbearing influence of State governments.
“My quest to see a robust and performing local government system in Nigeria can be traced back to 2012, when I, as a member of the 7th House of Representatives, sponsored a bill entitled: A Bill for an Act to Amend Section 7,162, of the 1999 Constitution for the provision of political and financial independence for local government administration in Nigeria”.
“During this time, we saw a greater need to grant financial autonomy to local government councils in order to make them more effective in bringing dividends of democracy closer to the people.
“Sadly, this did not materialize. Local governments today in most States are still regarded as an extension of the ministries of the State governments without financial and administrative autonomy.
“Inspite of the challenges to the passage of the Bill, I represented it during my short stay in the 8th Senate and currently in the 9th Senate”, She said.
Senator Ekwunife noted that it is her firm belief that a robust and administratively active local government system will ensure that the dividends of democracy are brought closer to the people.
“My vision is to see a local government that is a city under the mega city, which is the State government. Giving LGAs full powers to run their administration and execute projects within their capacity will help develop the communities in their local governments”.
“I consider it unfortunate that today we are using funds released for one local government to develop another when this shouldn’t be the case. This is largely due to our failure to ensure fiscal discipline in the management of State resources.”
Senator Ekwunife also spoke on youth empowerment, women empowerment and gender inclusiveness.
According to her, youth and women empowerment are things she has been practical about. She stated that she commits energy and resources to the empowerment of young people through facilitation of employment and organization of skills acquisition programmes.
She noted that part of why she wants to govern the State is to do this at a larger scale by utilizing the advantages offered by the resources and opportunities available at the level of the State government.
On gender inclusiveness, Ekwunife stated that she recently sponsored a bill for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to make provisions for gender inclusiveness in the composition of government.
She noted that the Bill seeks to amend section 14 of Nigeria’s constitution to allow for the following: In composition of Government of the Federation, State, Local Government Council, Ministry or Agency, there must be not less than 40% representation of each of (male and female) the gender groups. This implies that both men and women will have not less than 40% representation in government.
“I believe that it is time for us to fully tap into the uniqueness of both gender groups. We need to identify both budding and established talented men and women and assist them to leadership positions so that they can contribute to the development of our various States and by extention the country. We must embed gender inclusiveness and competence in our leadership recruitment process”, She said.
Concluding, the Senator restated her resolve to offer good governance to Ndi Anambra. She urged the people to support her governorship ambition which is borne out of her desire to establish a new order in governance at the level of the State government. She also assured that she will be fair and just in governance.
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