A public affairs analyst, Mr Aniekan Johnson has faulted the Government of Akwa Ibom State for what he calls corruption and unwillingness to yield to the directive issued by the National Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU)
He said only a corrupt government would refuse to yield to the NFIU guidelines on the financial autonomy of the local government areas.
It would be recalled that the NFIU had last April issued guidelines on how heads of local government authorities across the country would access and expend their direct funds from the federation account.
The procedure is different from the previous situation when local government funds came through their joint-state accounts and were misappropriated by governors.
Aniekan Johnson who spoke during the Team Nigeria Classic on Inspiration Radio, Uyo lamented that the autonomy has been punctured by Governor Udom Emmanuel which shows an abuse of his office as well as his insensitivity to the welfare of the people.
“It is unfortunate that LG autonomy has been punctured by the very person (Udom Emmanuel) that was elected as governor. It is corruption and abuse of office and it goes to show that Udom does not bother about the welfare of the people.
“In the new arrangement, we have a governor who is using contractors to coerce LG chairmen to sign contracts which then reverts the monies back to the governor.
“We must demand accountability from our LG chairmen. Any government not transparent in finances is corrupt, as far as the 21st century reality is concerned. A governor has no right to decide which project is more important to the local government areas. The people should be able to know what is of priority to them”, he said.
Describing Governor Emmanuel’s action as ‘hypothetical’, especially for claiming to attract foreign direct investment without providing an enabling environment for small scale businesses, Aniekan Johnson who warned the chairmen against submitting to the governor at the expense of the people, advised them to promote transparency and accountability in line with the new guidelines.
“I am very sure that with time, no council chairman would be able to hide their financial records from the public. A chairman who knows the meaning of leadership must forget the idea of godfatherism and aim at satisfying the desires of the people.
“Only a government that is transparent and accountable will publish their financial expenditure like that done in Kaduna State. I know this can happen in Akwa Ibom State. But when that would be possible in a state that is named after God remains very uncertain.
“I advise LG chairmen to go to court and challenge governor Udom Emmanuel’s interference on LG autonomy. You cannot claim to bring foreign direct investment when you willingly refuse to provide the enabling environment for SMEs and growth of the local economy”, he concluded.
Source: REAL NEWS
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