NGOs urge sincerity in planned constitution amendment

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A  Coalition of Non governmental Organisations (NGOs), and Civil Society groups in Nigeria on Tuesday called for sincerity in the planned Constitution amendment in Nigeria.
The coalition, made up of 60 NGO/CSOs  with bias for effective leadership and service delivery across the  three tiers of governments in Nigeria, made the call in a communiqué signed after its meeting on issues affecting  Local Governments Areas in Nigeria.
The communiqué was jointly signed by its Coordinator, Daniel Soetan, with Innocent Effiong, the Secretary and Assistant Coordinator, Minam Effanga.
The CSOs  said that the planned constitutional amendment, if not handled with total sincerity, would further exacerbate the already precarious situation in the councils in Nigeria.
They noted that the constitution of  Nigeria had numerous infractions and had reneged in promoting the letters and spirit of equity, accountability and transparency over the years.
“After careful study and consultations, it is our strong understanding that if the current whistle blown for the submission of memoranda does  not reflect the average wishes of Nigerians it will be a mere exercise in futility.
“That is if the anticipated plan for amending the Nigerian constitution does not in truth, reflect a departure from other several similar attempts like the 2014 Confab and El-Rufai Reports and so on.
“There are several critical issues that will make the system to function effectively like the devolution of powers or restructuring which has been in the front burner.
“No doubt,  such will enable the local government areas to succeed and clearly reflect the wishes of “we the people” and not  the fire-brigade military contraption which as of today  is not a functional item.
“This development is antithetical to the popular wishes of an average Nigerian.
The coalition noted that indeed such would show lack of honest and patriotic resolve to affect the local government areas positively.
” It will no doubt be an irresponsible venture to continue to perpetrate the infractions against the good peoples of Nigeria across the rural communities,” it said.
The group said that Nigerians were tired of an ill-fated constitution that did not give the local government areas all its requirements for development in the last 60 years.
They said that Nigerians could not continue with what they were presently seeing at the local government areas which left much to be desired.
The group advocated an urgent reversal of the fiscal revenue allocation formula where Nigerians would see the local government areas with huge responsibilities, having  52.68 per cent of fiscal allocation.
It added that the Federal should be entitled to 20.60 per cent, formerly given to the local government areas, while  states should retain  26.72 per cent.
” It is obvious that the present constitution does not really provide substantial laws for availability of resource to execute the huge functions that the councils are given.
“For instance, the responsibility of service delivery in the areas of primary education including teachers salaries, health, infrastructure, agriculture, industry and others too numerous to mention,” it added.  (NAN)

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