I back autonomy for councils, assemblies, says Dickson
Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson is in support of financial autonomy for Local Government Councils and the independence of Houses of Assembly.
His position runs counters to the assertion that governors are against the move to include financial autonomy of the Local Government Councils and the independence of Houses of Assembly in the ongoing Constitution Review process.
Dickson told reporters in Abuja yesterday that autonomy of the councils has always obtained in his state. He said no one tampers with their funds.
According to him, his state does not go beyond the statutory deduction for health workers and teachers salaries and that anyone that goes beyond that “ is on his own.”
“We do not have the habit of making deductions outside the statutory deductions for health workers and for teachers’ salaries.
“To the best of my knowledge, councils in Bayelsa State are allowed to manage their funds as they deem appropriate. And the only condition is that the council chairmen are not to work as sole administrators. The chairmen must work with the budget passed by their legislature.
“We have nothing against the autonomy of local government councils.
The constitution we have is that we have a situation where funds are shared between the federal, states and local governments.”
He however said there is a need for a holistic approach to the issue of local government because the country is operating its allocation in local governments councils created by the military and that “this breeds unnecessary controversies.”
The governor said the independence of the Houses of Assembly should be encouraged, adding that Bayelsa State already has a legislation that assures the independence of the judiciary.
Dickson expressed regret that the House of Representatives gave the Houses of Assembly autonomy and they rejected it.
“We should encourage the autonomy of the Houses of Assembly.
“In the sixth House, we gave them autonomy but they themselves rejected it. We just hope when they get it now, they will value it.” He said.