By Jacinta Nwachukwu
The Federal Government says that plans are underway to establish a ‘National Council of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs’ for sustainable national development.
Sen. George Akume, the Minister, Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, said this at a three-day stakeholders’ conference on Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs in Abuja on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the conference is “Harnessing grassroots potentials for service delivery and for sustainable national development: The proper place of Local Government Administration and Inter- Governmental Relations”.
Akume said that the national council if established would be the highest policy advisory body to the nation on issues of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs.
According to him, the absence of a critical structure or vehicle of mobilisation of stakeholders for prompt action has hindered the pace of the Ministry in discharging its activities.
“This realisation has thus informed my decision to establish the National Council of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs.
“The proposed council in its form, structure and function would resemble national councils of other ministries.
“It is also pertinent to state that the need for this council was mentioned as far back as 2008, during the bi-annual conference of key functionaries of local government administration in Kaduna State,” Akume said.
He said the gathering was to enrich the process that would eventually lead to the formal establishment of the national council.
Akume urged the participants to utilise their experiences, backgrounds and professions during the deliberations to ensure a convergence of ideas and the eventual seamless take – off of the council.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ibiene Roberts, while thanking the participants, expressed hope that the discussions would help birth a successful national council.
“As seasoned administration that we are, our key responsibility is to ensure that government institutions work optimally in service delivery in an efficient and effective manner.
“I recognise you as the pillars and as such, integral part of the ministry. It is the resolve of the ministry to work with you to enable us achieve our deserving citizenry,” Roberts said.
On his part, Sen. Yusuf Yusuf, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Special Duties, said that there was need for proper sensitisation on the local government potentials at the grassroots.
Yusuf said that there were lots of potentials at the local government areas, saying that harnessing the potentials would enhance national development.
“The potentials must be unlocked through proper sensitisation; government has to create proper avenue, and mobilisation of the grassroots is the key for national development,” he added.
Similarly, Sen. Abba Moro, the Chairman of the Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs, said the local government administration was the foundation of government worldwide.
Moro, while commending the ministry for the initiative, pledged to support the ministry in its activities, saying that local government autonomy was the bedrock for national development. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Kevin Okunzuwa/Razak Owolabi