By Aic Akwarandu
For the Governor Elect of Imo State Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, the New Guidelines released by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) on Local Government finances must be a dream come through. For those who may ask why, it is worthy to note that one of the Lion tales touched by the Imo Governor Elect while He operated at the National Assembly was for Local Government administration to have a true autonomy where they can be in charge of their finances and other privileges due to them.
As the then Co-Chairman of the Constitution Review Committee of the 7th Assembly, Ihedioha led the crusade to conduct a “Peoples public session” across the 360 federal constituencies, getting first hand demands from the people. The public session took place on November 10th 2012. The former deputy speaker while speaking on the reason He advocated for public hearing at that time noted that, “Nigeria desires a true Peoples constitution where the people will take control of how they are governed”. Providing more details on how members voted in favor of LG autonomy, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha who doubled as Chairman of the Constitutional Amendment Ad-hoc Committee that collated the proposals, said “the House voted overwhelmingly to give full financial, administrative, executive and legislative autonomy to local government councils in Nigeria”.
According to him, “the vote made local councils, a tier of government in Nigeria denied of any revenue allocation from the Federation Account or from the states, created a uniform four years tenure for local government councils, provided for the mode of exercising legislative power of the LGC and their remuneration to be determined by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, abolished the “State Joint Local government Account and replaced same with the “Local Government Council Allocation Account.
He also said “henceforth, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, would be conducting elections for local government areas, instead of State Independent Electoral Commission, SIEC”.
Remarkably, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha was at the time of championing this amendment running to be Governor under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party during the 2015 general elections. Indeed, such characters are very few in the politics of today where most elected chief executives see the LG system as a conduit pipe to acquire illegal wealth.
Rural development has remained one of the core agenda of the Imo Governor Elect who has shown determination to achieving that by legitimately activating the Local Government system for the benefits of the masses.
States must begin to think of how to make the Local Government system effective to reduce “urban rural migration” as the former deputy speaker puts it always. Imolites are lucky to have a man who is determined to encourage rural development at this time. I have no doubt that when remodeled States are mentioned in few months to come, Imo will be first among equals.