SAPELE – A 2023 Delta State Governorship aspirant and President/CEO of Exerneum Resources Limited, Ediri R. Idimi (UBIOMOR) has stated that the idea of Local Government autonomy being advocated for in Nigeria wil not solve the problems facing the Country but complicate it.
Idimi stated this while addressing the media in his home town of Ituru in Elume District of Sapele Local Government Area of Okpe Kingdom, Delta State.
According to him, “What is needed is restructuring of Nigeria to a true Federal State with resource control. Nigeria structure of Government should be modeled after that of Canada, USA and other countries since we have the same demography. If we must succeed, local government should be under state government authorities and the state should have powers to create new local government areas for effective development of the state, as the state government understand better the history of the people and the natural and tribal boundaries.
“The idea of Local Government Autonomy being advocated by some persons from certain part of the country is to advance the olonization ideology of some ethnic nationalities in Nigeria and the Niger Delta people in particular. It is not designed with the intention to develop the grassroots, but further divide the people through ‘divide and rule strategy’.
“Local government should be under state authorities just as it is done in other parts of the world. Autonomy of local government system has been the major cause of crisis in different parts of the country, which include the Warri Crisis between the Ijaws, Itsekiri and Urhobo due to creation of Warri South West Local Government Area by the then Federal Government of Nigeria. The crisis was resolved by the Delta State Government which created from the 3 Federal Government Local Government, 15 Community Development Center (CDC) which is like States own form of Local Government along natural tribal boundaries and kingdoms of the warring tribes.
“The Sapele Local Government Area and Okpe Local Government Area of Okpe Kingdom are divided into 13 Districts, each of the districts should be made Local Government Area for effective grassroots development. Canada with about 40 million people has about 4500 Local Government Area and then Nigeria with about 200 million people can develop its grassroots with just 774 Local Government Area?
“Local Government Autonomy that is advocated by some persons mainly from Northern Nigeria is to continually foster ethnic conquest through a centralized command and control of the powers of Government. These people created far more Local Government in the North with a strategy to get more revenues from resources coming from the South.
“It has to be totally condemned by all Indigenous People of Niger Delta advocating for true Federal State with resource control. We have put forward ideas to restructure Nigeria to a true Federal State with Resources Control and that is the one antidote the country needs to solve the many socio-economic, socio-political and socio-cultural problems we are facing, which include the problems of insecurity.”
The vibrant young entrepreneur addedfurther, “Nigeria model of Local Government Autonomy is such that revenues generated from local Governments in Delta State is unfairly collected by a Central Government and bulk of the money shared to Local Government in Northern States. It is not Local Government Autonomy to collect VATs from sales of alcohol in Lagos and other parts of Southern States and share lion share of it to Local Government in North that even prohibit the sales of alcohol in their states.
“The type of Local Government Autonomy needed is the type that will enable the State create the desire Local Government Areas along with tribal and natural boundaries needed for revenue generation, Mobilization and grassroots development. The autonomy that will empower the Local Government withhold a certain percentage from all resources and revenue generated from its territory and the State takes the outstanding and then remit certain percentage of it to the central Government. The revenue sharing structure should be from down to up as in Federal States philosophy and not from up to bottom as in Unity System of Government of the current awkward arrangement in Nigeria.” He added.