Local Government system is regarded as strategic due to its nearness to the people at the rural areas where greater percentage of the nation’s populace reside.

Being the closest Government, it is a viable instrument for rural transformation and delivery of social services at the grassroots.

Local government as the third tier of the government emerged from various reforms including the 1976 Local Government reform to bring development and governance in the rural areas.

In Nigeria,there are seven hundred and seventy four Local Government Areas.

As the nation marked its twenty years of Democracy some notable Nigerians have called for overhaul of the system to make it more result oriented.

This they claimed would discourage state government interference and propel development at the grassroots.

It is said that State Governors weld a lot of powers over Council Chairman as they sometimes sack and discipline such officials at will and are in charge of conducting Local Government elections.

The nation’s revenue is shared by the Federal, State and Local Governments on percentage basis.

However, the funds do not go directly into Local Government account, but to State and Local Government Joint Account for which the State Governments have full control.

The undue inference of some Governors in the administration of Local Governments has actually put a question on whether it is an agency of the State Government.

There are also accusations and counter accusations that Local Government Funds are used to services “political stakeholders “ by sharing it to them on arrival while others described the fund as the Governors Automated Teller Machine, ATM.

Political observers are worried that a once vibrant tier of government which brought development at the grassroots has gone into limbo.

In the past, Local Government administrations constructed feeder roads, built schools, hospitals, markets to mention but a few.

What has actually gone wrong, how has this tier impacted on the lives of the people?

Recently, the Federal Government gave a directive on the financial autonomy of Local Government which the Governors Forum opposed.

One would begin to question why would the forum not want the third tier of Government to have autonomy.

An elder statesman and Secretary Nsukka General Assembly, Chief Mathias Omeh advised that the laws guiding the Local Government system must be strengthened and elections for Council Chairmen and Councilors handled by the INEC.

For Chief Omeh, there is deviation from what Local Government administration used to be and what it is today.

The Vice Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, South-East Zone Comrade Petrus Obi attributed the woes of the Local Government to the Joint Account System.

He was of the opinion that Local Government fund should not be paid to any State without elected Chairmen for accountability and transparency.

A former Chairman, Igbo-Eze North Local Government, Chief Chijioke Ugwu who expressed mixed feelings with performance of some of the Council Chairman stressed the need for the Chairmen to be supervised by the State Governments to avoid excesses.

They urged the new administration to reform the local government system to advance democratic culture in the country.



Previous post SICKLE CELL DAY: Wife of Abia State Gov Sensitizes People to the Need to ascertain their Genotype