Local government autonomy and it’s Effectiveness in Nigeria.
By: Excellent Oziboro
Let us quickly look at this topic, Local government autonomy and it’s Effectivenes in Nigeria
* Understanding local government autonomy.
* What to do attaining effective local government leadership.
WHAT IS LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTONOMY?
Before we understand the autonomy in local government, let us first know what local government is all about.
Local government is the third tier of government. It is an intermediary player between the federal authority and the grassroots in a given society. It is the earliest form of government that exist in form of clan and village meetings.
In fact, democracy itself originated and developed along the lines of local governance initiatives in the ancient Greek city states.
Local government autonomy is the freedom of the local government to recruit and manage its own staff, raise and manage its own finances, make bye-laws and policies, and discharge its functions as provided by law without interference from the higher governments.
For democracy to achieved its purpose in any democratic setting, the interests of the people must be well served.
The main function of Local government is to bring about meaningful development in the rural areas.
As agents of rural development, LGs are to utilize funds obtained from higher governments and their internally generated revenue to improve the lives of the people within their areas of operation.
Such as initiating and attracting developmental projects to the Local Government, provision of access roads, water and rural electricity.
But for decades now, the local government system in Nigeria was so greatly undermined and oppressed by state governors to an extent that it cannot effectively play its role as agent of development at the grassroots.
Some state governors during LG elections will impose loyalist in local government positions so they can exercise control and influence on every activities across the local government.
Despite the huge federal allocations, local government economic and financial status is still very poor, relative to the development program expectations.
WHAT TO DO TO ATTAIN EFFECTIVENESS IN THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP?
* Full autonomy should be granted to local government. LGs should be strengthened and democratized, while its officials should be elected and not appointed in any manner at any point in time.
* The current situation in which local governments exist at the mercy of state and federal governments is no longer adequate to realize any positive performances in the country therefore must be discouraged and criticized.
* It should be within the purview of federal constitution to lay down the statutory qualifications of LGs’ officials, in particular the education and skill to improve the effectiveness of their duty.
* Citizens, traditional and religious leaders, civil society organizations, especially at the local level should be reoriented and empowered to hold elected local government officials accountable.
The time has come for everyone in the country to work out a roadmap for the management of the local governments council in line with their constitutionally assigned duties.