President of the Senate Mr Ahmed Lawan said Thursday that the absence of a functional local government system was responsible for the current security challenges in the country.
Lawan said this while fielding questions from State House correspondents after the Eid-el-Fitr prayer at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
He said while the nation’s leaders seek solutions to the security crisis confronting the nation, the local government system should not be neglected.
He said lack of local government autonomy inhibits solutions to efforts by the federal and state governments towards addressing the nation’s security challenge.
“We are all leaders and we are in this together, the solutions must come from us regardless of what levels of leadership we are – whether at the Federal Level, State Level, or even at the Local Government level.
“I also want to take this opportunity to say that we have diminished the local government system. I think we can attribute the security issues to the absence of a Functional Local Government System.
“I think the time has come for us to take up the challenge and ensure that the Local Government system functions. This is as we look for ways to curb the security challenge. We must never neglect the local government system. We must go back to our local government system to ensure they are autonomous and functional.
“I believe that, as leaders, especially those of us who are elected into office should not be at the forefront of calling for this kind of thing.
“Because, even if you are a governor, you are supposed to be working hard in your state to ensure that this restructuring you are calling for at the federal level, you have done it in your state as well.
“What you may accuse the Federal Government of, whatever it is, you may also be accused of the same thing in your state.
“So, we are supposed to ensure that we have a complete and total way of ensuring that our systems at the federal, state and even local government levels work for the people.
“We must allow people to participate in governance so that whoever feels he has something to offer to make Nigeria better does so freely without any let or hindrance,” he said.
Urging elected leaders to shun regionalism, Lawan said: “The President is reaching out to all the stakeholders. And I believe that as leaders, particularly those of us who were elected at all levels of government, we should avoid partisanship.
“We should avoid regionalism. We are all leaders and we are in this together. The solutions to our challenges must come from us regardless of what level of government we are.
“Whether at the federal, state or the local government level. I believe that Nigeria is going to come out of these challenges stronger,” he said.
Also speaking, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, said those who have championed the call for succession are misguided and do not mean well for the country.
He said while the call for restructuring and agitations maybe genuine, elected leaders and governors should particularly not champion the movement for restructuring without first replicating the idea at the state level.
He described the Eid celebration as period of sacrifice, love, and worship amid the spate of insecurity in the country.
He said this is not the time for name-calling or trading blames as everyone is complicit.
He also called for spirit of oneness, saying that “If truth be told, we all have equal shares in the blame for what’s happening today. Whatever challenges we have, we must all come together to make sure that we resolve these issues we’re facing. We must imbibe that spirit of oneness, togetherness, unity and love that would take us through this.”