He said this on Tuesday during an interactive session shortly after delivering his keynote address at the maiden International Conference on Politics, Security and Development held at the Babcock University, Ilisan-Remo, Ogun State.
"Not allowing local governments to work and stealing their funds from source by states is one of the greatest disservices of all political parties in the present dispensation of our democratic experiment."The conference was chaired by a former Managing Director of Nigeria Airways, Alhaji Jani Ibrahim.
Obasanjo alleged that the state governors “steal” council funds under the pretext that they have done something for the councils or on their behalf.
According to him, as soon as the Local Government Allocations were released from the federation account, the state governments simply deduct from the source, whatever amount they claimed were spent on behalf of the local governments.
He said, “An effective, efficient and performing local governments system and operation will enhance the delivery of dividends of democracy and governance in Nigeria.
“In fact, experiences in many states of the federation have shown that local government administrations have become the most constitutionally-abused matter in the country since the 1999 Constitution became operational. Only a handful of states had held local governments’ election.
“Others have carried on as if it is legal to run local governments without the constitution that created them. Most state governors floated the idea of appointing transition committees comprising of their surrogates to oversee the affairs of the councils. The trend, sadly, has been maintained in some states till now.
“In others where the polls had been conducted, the governors, in connivance with corrupt electoral officials subservient to the governors and the ruling party committed malpractices which make a mockery of the process.”