Addressing Concerns On Local Government Autonomy

 

I write to address the reported concerns raised by Rt. Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin, the Speaker of Oyo State & the Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Houses of Assembly, regarding the push for Local Government Autonomy in Nigeria at the just concluded National Discourse on Nigeria’s Security Challenges and Good Governance at the Local Government Level, held on Monday, 27th May, 2027.

While believing the Right Honourable must have been quoted out of context, being a Youth who rose to that exalted position with expectation to represent the common people from the Local Government where he emerged. He should not forget the Local Government system all over Nigeria has been devitalized, castrated, and impoverished from performing their constitutional functions.

It is imperative to highlight the potential benefits and necessity of granting both administrative and financial autonomy to Local Governments.

First, the fear that the Federal Government may use Local Governments against State authorities is unfounded rather autonomy would foster a decentralized system where Local Governments can operate independently, enhancing governance at the grassroots level.

The argument that financial autonomy would lead to increased corruption is also unconvincing. Corruption can occur at any level of government, but with robust accountability and transparency mechanisms, it can be effectively mitigated.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-graft agencies must indeed be strengthened, but this should not be a reason to deny Local Governments the autonomy they need to manage their resources more efficiently, leading to improved service delivery and grassroot development.

The current system, where Local Governments depend heavily on state controls, stifles their ability to address local needs promptly and properly. Local Governments can generate their own revenue through local taxes, markets, and other commercial activities as it is enshrined in the Fourth schedule of 1999 FRN Constitution, reducing their dependence on federal allocations.

Furthermore, enhancing the capacity and professionalism of Local Government staff is crucial. Regular training and skill upgrades will ensure that officials are well-equipped to manage resources and deliver services efficiently. This approach will address concerns about mismanagement and ensure that Local Governments can meet the needs of their communities.

In conclusion, Local Government autonomy is essential for true federalism and grassroots development in Nigeria. It will empower Local Governments to be more responsive and accountable to the people they serve. Rather than focusing on potential pitfalls, we should work towards building the necessary frameworks to support autonomous Local Governments, ensuring they contribute effectively to National development.

Com. Afolabi Abayomi, fcpa writes from Ibadan 

 

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