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Tinubu urges Nigerians to hold governors responsible for underdevelopment in states

President Bola Tinubu on Thursday, said State Governors were not doing enough to strengthen development at the grassroots and urged traditional rulers to hold Governors accountable.

The President who made these remarks, when he met with the leadership of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said state governments must prioritize the needs of local communities by ensuring accountability and effectiveness in the administration of local governments.

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President Tinubu who expressed disappointments with the ways states resources are deployed, met with the Arewa Leaders against the backdrop of growing insecurity, high rate of out of school children, as well as economic challenges, especially at the local government levels.

Since the withdrawal of fuel subsidy in May, 2023, allocation through the monthly Federal Account Allocation Committee is said to have increased by as much as 69 percent. In October,2023, states shared over N900b, an increase of over N120b, over the August allocation.

Under the current sharing formula, while the Federal Government gets 52.68 per cent of the revenue, states 26.72 per cent, and local governments 20.60 per cent.

Under the 2024 approved budget, over N5t will go to the states, which is N2.24tn more than the N3.3tn disbursed in 2023.

According to the President, ” We are running a constitutional democracy. I will appeal to you to summon the governors. I am doing my very best to enhance the revenue base of the country. They must equally be sympathetic, and they must urgently consider the needs of the local people.

“People reside in the local communities. That is where they work, farm, and live. If the local governments are not effective in delivering services; as leaders, we must not hang on to the numbers. We have 774 local government areas, but are they truly effective? Do they solve problems for Nigerians? Do they coordinate development programming with the state and federal governments?

“Who is being held accountable for the performance of the 774 local governments? Maybe we should look at recalibrating. What was good four years ago may not be good today. When we want the votes, we go to the locals; when we get the votes, we move to and focus on Abuja,” the President said.

Highlighting the significance of education in nation building, the President described the situation of out-of-school children in parts of Nigeria as unacceptable.

Recall that the United Nation’s International Children’s Emergency Fund had recently put the number of out of school children in Nigeria at about 20 million, more than the population of about 10 African countries

According to the President “The question of out-of-school children is unacceptable. Education is a tool against poverty, and that is what brought many of us here. We must use our education to serve the people and improve their conditions. We must develop the backbone of Nigeria’s economy, which is the education system. We will collaborate with you on this intensively.

“We are still building Nigeria, and I am glad that you have emphasized the need for development. The infrastructure decay is unacceptable, and the level of poverty in the north is unacceptable. We must eliminate the source of these trends,” President Tinubu stated.

On security, President Tinubu commended Nuhu Ribadu, the National Security Adviser, for his efforts, saying: “Everybody wants to be secure, and we need to invest more in technology. We will do it, I promise you. We will put our heart and soul into ensuring that Nigeria is secure and its citizens are protected.

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“The AKK project, the dredging of the River Niger, and improving port access and infrastructure nationwide, in order to shorten travel time, will make us more prosperous as a nation. We have to fight insecurity so that people can make a decent living anywhere they live.”

President Tinubu also used the occasion to appeal for national unity and continued support for his government as it solves decades-long challenges confronting the populace.

Bashir Dalhatu, leader of the delegation and Chairman, Board of Trustees of ACF, had earlier in his opening remarks, congratulated President Tinubu on his first year in office and expressed the Forum’s appreciation for his achievements and service to the country.

Dalhatu said Northern Nigeria reposes strong trust and confidence in President Tinubu, adding: “Your tireless support for and collaboration with Northerners that helped many to win elections into various positions, including that of the presidency in the past, has consolidated the love and trust in the hearts of Northerners for you, as confirmed by the pattern of voting in the last presidential election.”

The ACF BOT Chairman further highlighted several achievements within the President’s first year in office, including the prioritization of funding for agriculture and education, as well as the maintenance of good relations with Nigeria’s neighbours.

The ACF applauded the President for prioritizing the Sokoto-Badagry Highway and the Trans-Saharan highway and his implemented measures to fast-track the completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex.

”With these developments, we feel greatly motivated and even more confident that Your Excellency will look upon the North with even greater sympathy and strive harder to alleviate the dire economic and social pains in Northern Nigeria,” the leader of the delegation said.