CLGF pledges to help strengthen local government in Nigeria
27 July 2011
CLGF Secretary-General Carl Wright visited Abuja on 22 July 2011 for high level discussions with HE Senator Pius Anyim, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), together with Hon Felix Akhabue, National President, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and member of the CLGF Board, and other senior ALGON leaders.
Discussions centred around the role of the CLGF and how it could support the strengthening of local government in Nigeria and Africa, as well as the need to ensure respect for and application of the constitutional provisions regarding local government, including by those state governments which have appointed non-elected caretaker committees for local government, instead of holding local elections.
The Secretary-General pointed to the Commonwealth Aberdeen Principles on Local Democracy and Good Governance, which have been endorsed by Nigeria’s Federal Government which include the holding of regular local elections. He expressed the hope that Nigeria would abide by these principles and offered technical and other support, notably in respect of any proposed constitutional amendment regarding local government.
He welcomed the undertaking given by the SGF that Nigeria would be represented at ministerial level at appropriate forthcoming CLGF events, alongside other Commonwealth ministers and local government leaders, and would look at appropriate constitutional strengthening of local government.
Reference was also made to the policies agreed in the CLGF 2011 Cardiff Consensus for Local Economic Development which is to be presented formally to Commonwealth Heads of Government, including HE President Jonathan, in Perth, Australia in October 2011.
Speaking in Abuja, CLGF Secretary-General Carl Wright said:
“It is important that Nigeria assumes its rightful leadership role on local government, not only in Africa, but also in the Commonwealth where it has much to contribute”.
“Likewise local government in Nigeria and its umbrella body, ALGON, need to be strengthened in order to ensure effective service delivery to the local community and to promote local economic development. CLGF is committed to working with its Nigerian partners, including federal and state governments, towards this vital end, drawing on good practice from across the Commonwealth, especially from other federal states”.
ALGON National President Hon Felix Akhabue emphasised the importance of local government autonomy and decentralisation in the development of any nation and called for support from the SGF to ensure that local governments in Nigeria enjoy the same rights and benefits as in other Commonwealth countries.
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