Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has called for the strengthening of the local government as the third tier of government in Nigeria, stressing that this will engender real development at the grassroots.
He said this on Monday while receiving members of the Friends of Democracy group at his residence in the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
Chief Obasanjo maintained that people at the grassroots are better served if the local government is strengthened.
He said, “The Local Government is meant to be autonomous from the state government.
“What has happened from the briefing I have received from you and what we know is that by design, most states have incapacitated the local government. They have virtually stolen their money. And what they call joint account, they were to contribute 10 per cent which they never contributed.
“What has come from the state governments have been appropriated by them, so what we have in most parts of the country is a local government that has functions but cannot perform the function”.
The former president also noted that only nine states so far have signed the Local Government Autonomy bill which requires the signature of 24 states before it is passed into law.
He, therefore, called on states who have yet to sign the bill to do so in the interest of development.