Senator Domingo Obende (ACN-Edo), has said that Local Governments were not ripe for financial autonomy.
Instead, Obende advocated that local governments should only be granted administrative autonomy.
Obende made his opinion known in Abuja on Monday during an interactive session with National Assembly correspondents.
He cited “recklessness of elected officials” in the management of council funds to buttress his position.
He said that elected officials in the third tier of government had the tendency to misappropriate funds.
He held that administrative autonomy was preferable to financial autonomy for local governments in view of the absence of mechanism for monitoring expenditure at that level.
He expressed confidence that the National Assembly and the state Houses of Assembly would vote against autonomy for the local governments.
He said: “I am not in support of it and I will give you reasons. Local government councils cannot give account of funds.
“Unless there is proper legislation to regulate the activities of local governments, it will be impossible for them to have autonomy and do well with it.
“It will also be practically impossible for the State Houses of Assembly to vote for autonomy. I believe they will vote against it.”
Obende described the request by the executive to amend the 2013 national budget as unrealistic “because the National Assembly cannot pass the budget afresh.”
He said the executive can only approach the legislature for approval of a supplementary budget since the 2013 Appropriation was already in operation.
He said: “The document before us is the 2013 Amendment Bill and not the budget.
“The budget, as we stand, has been passed.
“If you are bringing an amendment to a budget that had already been passed, what you are simply telling us is for us to reverse ourselves, which I think is going to be very impossible.
“The document is a supplementary budget and not an amendment, although the description said it is an amendment.”
Obende said that contrary to expectation, opposition senators were always favourably disposed to issues of national interest rather than toe partisan lines.
According to him, the responsibility of every lawmaker is to ensure that Nigeria remained one indivisible entity for enhanced development.
He said: “What we do in the National Assembly is to look at issues dispassionately and take a position that is going to be best fitted in what we need to move this country forward.
“That is the reason you see that sometimes, we are not sharply divided over any issue.
“We can only be divided over an issue that will tear the nation apart.”