By YAHAYA ISAH
ABUJA- Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola has urged Local Governments to generate revenue to drive development at that level.
This is contained in a statement issued by Aregbesola’s Media Adviser, Mr Sola Fasure, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Speaking at a one-Day dialogue with the theme, “2023 and Beyond: Tracking Campaign Promises for Good Governance” organised by NPO Reports in Abuja, the minister said:” local governments, though closest to the people are dependent on the federation account for funding.
”They really have no business waiting from handouts every month from the central government.
“The Local Councils must generate revenue to drive development at that level. No local government will be accountable with handouts. Charity doesn’t make people responsible.”
Aregbesola advised that people of a locality must fund their local government.
This, he said when done, would enable them not to exact responsibility and accountability from that government.
“People can hardly hold a government accountable, whose funding they are not responsible for. This applies to state governments too.
”I ask myself, is local council a tier of government in a federation. Examples abound world over of countries that practice federal system like ours.
“In Australia, Germany, the U.S. and many others, there are only two tiers in a federal system which is usually the central and the regional governments. The local government is not one of them.”
The minister commended the organiser of the dialogue, Alhaji Semiu Okanlawon, CEO, Proumou Media Consulting Nigeria Ltd Editor-in-Chief/Publisher, NPO Reports for his professionalism.
He urged Okanlawon to continue to stand for the best tradition of responsible journalism.
”I am here in my capacity as ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, and not as the Minister of Interior, and I will expect to be quoted as such.
“I came here because of my personal relationship with Semiu. The topic he has chosen to celebrate at this One-Day Dialogue on the 12th anniversary of his publication, is very apt.
“All the erudite scholars who spoke have done adequate academic justice to the topic.
“When I was the governor in Osun, I created a government department called the Bureau of Social Services with the acronym ‘BOSS’, to track government programmes, projects and interventions.
“I also had a Policy and Economic Team (PET) to track projects and initiatives of my office.
“I also engaged private social, political and economic consultants to do the performance monitoring and perception review.”
The minister, however, added that beyond the tracking of these projects, the next thing was tracking productivity.
“Before we can track productivity, we must mobilise Nigerians for productivity. I heard some speakers talking about tracking the productivity of all tiers of government.
”President Muhammadu Buhari is investing rightly in infrastructure so Nigerians can be mobilised for productivity.
“With his promise to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, if half of that number can be mobilised for productivity through the different initiatives the government is championing.
“Nigeria will in no time be competing with the first world nations,” the minister added.
Earlier, the former governor of Ekiti, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said that while in office, he had a very efficient Monitoring and Evaluating Unit that tracked all government projects.
“But according to the topic of the day’s dialogue, sometimes politicians cannot fulfil their campaign promises due to factors totally out of their control.”(NAN)