Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
The local government system in the country has now abandoned its primary responsibility to promote greater efficiency in the provision of local services to transform the lives of the people at the grassroots, and has now function as mere administrative extensions of state governments, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has observed.
He said the local government is, by this development left completely corrupt, indiscipline, and inefficient in what has now projected it as a weak model for governance, adding: “This has become a source of grave concern to this government.”
Also, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Alhaji Muhmud Yayale Ahmed, said Nigeria cannot realise the potential of the third tier of government unless the leadership and other stakeholders in the local government system revert to the basics, which he insisted, are the practices of old when councils generated their funds to provide development.
The duo spoke yesterday at the opening of a two-day national workshop on local government development, organised by Daily Trust, in partnership with National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), taking place at the premises of NIPSS in Kuru, near Jos in Plateau State.
The theme of the workshop is ‘Improvising Local Government Administration for Development at the Grassroots.’
Osinbajo, who was represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary in charge of Career Management Office of the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation (OFHOSF), Mr. Emmanuel Ogbonnaya, who also represented the special guest of honour, and current Head of Service, Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita.
He lamented a situation where the local government system can no longer serve the purpose for which it was created, adding that “this government is determined to support efficiency in local government administration and the strengthening of their operational capacities.”
While the vice-president said the federal government awaits the outcome of the ongoing workshop in suggesting ideas to reposition the third tier of government, he expressed optimism that the discussion would respond to the challenges of contemporary human resource management in local government councils, as well as respond to the issues of corruption, indiscipline and poor service delivery at that level.
Ahmed recalled that government at that level served as a subunit of the federal, as well as state government in the performance of legislative, administrative and quasi-judicial functions among other services.
“The essence of this is to ensure unhindered and efficient service delivery at the local levels that will ultimately result in socio-economic and political development,” he said. “Thus, by the intent of the designers and framers of Nigeria’s federal structure, local government administration was adopted as the main fundamental instrument for the acceleration an sustenance of rural development.”
He urged the leadership of the government at that level to return to these basics, if the local government must remain a tier of government.
The acting Director-General (DG) of NIPSS, Mr. Jonathan Juma Mela, in his remarks at the opening ceremony, in addition to its mandate as a policy development and training institute, NIPSS has recently established an Advancement Office through which it seeks to partner with its alumni, other Ngerians, as well as reputable local and international organisations like Daily Trust, for the purpose of mobilising resources for research and development.
“It is against this backdrop that the institute’s partnership with Daily Trust Newspapers in organising this workshop fits perfectly well into that objective,” the DG said.
The Daily Trust CEO said the ongoing workshop is the first in the series of collaborative engagement with NIPSS, stressing that the initiative was born out of the collective pursuit of the newspaper to contribute its quota to improving human capital development at the grassroots.