Should Local Govts be Granted Autonomy?

0

Although the National Assembly recently recommended and approved Local Government autonomy in their amendment process, the move does not sit well with State Governors, who largely control the finances accruing to the local councils. In your own view, should local governments in Nigeria be granted full autonomy to boost development at the grassroots or not?

ABIMBOLA AKOSILE

* Local Governments should be granted autonomy in Nigeria. This is the grassroots government through which the people basically get the dividends of democracy. Granting autonomy to local governments is in total accord with the principles of federalism, the system of government Nigeria is presently practicing. It will also allow them harness resources available to them to their full advantage, to develop at their own pace and make development faster.

Mr. Charles Aniebonam, Esq. Abuja

* It is a good idea for the Local governments to be autonomous but corruption will hinder their performance, because the present corruption that has engulfed the entire nation started from the local government offices. However, we may give it a trial of one term of four years.

Mr. Igbai Ehimigbai, Ago-Okota, Lagos State

* Local governments are created to bring development closer to the people at the grassroots. Also, local government reform is aimed to accelerate development and enable the local population hold those in power accountable for their governance roles. Challenges facing the system include poor funding, lack of human capital, corruption, poor policy and service delivery. Some state governors flagrantly abuse Local council funds. Local governments should be granted full autonomy to boost development.

Mr. Michael Adedotun Oke, Founder Michael Adedotun Oke Foundation, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja

* Civil Society and Media Organisations in Nigeria should promote massive awareness of political, constitutional and fundamental human rights to all households across the 774 Local Government Areas of Nigeria.

Mr. Feyi Akeeb Kareem, Coordinator, CDHR, Delta State

* Everything is worth trying. State Governors have taken the Local Governments for granted ever since their existence. Their allocations by the Federal Government are withheld and little part given to them by the Governors as if they are beggars. Whatever the people think of them, autonomy is a must. Infact, the federation account should henceforth release the local government allocations directly to their accounts.

Hon. Babale Maiungwa, U/Romi, Kaduna State

* Yes, Local Governments should be granted autonomy as they are the closest face of governance at grassroots levels. What is governance if the grassroots is not developed and empowered?

Ms Nkeiruka Abanna, Lagos State

* The National Assembly constitutional amendment favours local governments to have their own autonomy. Governance will reach rural people because governors always hijack local councils’ allocation meant for rural development. Autonomy will go a long way for rural development if the council chairmen don’t siphon the money.

Mr. Gordon Chika Nnorom, Public Commentator, Umukabia, Abia State

* Yes, Local Governments in Nigeria should be granted autonomy because they are the closest governments to the rural people. Abraham Lincoln defines democracy as “Government of the people, by the people and for the people”. So they should be autonomous to serve and empower the people. Granting the local governments autonomy will liberate them from the political bondage under the emperors called governors.

Mr. Odey Ochicha, Leadership Specialist, Abuja

* Local governments deserve substantial autonomy from States to enable them perform their statutory functions. The constitution has recognised LGAs with statutory functions. Let the Constitution be respected so that council can function effectively as drivers of development at that tier. However, accountability and transparency is a must if that autonomy is to be useful.

Mr. Anonymous, Lagos State

* This is long overdue. Granting local governments in Nigeria autonomy means development to the grassroots. One should not expect the State Governors to be happy, as their window of siphoning public funds has been blocked. There is no meaningful development in their states and local governments, as the funds released cannot pay salaries.

Mr. Dogo Stephen, Kaduna State

* Maybe not yet. If we consider the extent of irresponsibility at this third tier of government, autonomy can’t serve any useful purpose as yet. The local government should be responsive to some infrastructural needs but unfortunately for now, they cannot be trusted to handle its own affairs in a manner worthy of autonomy.

Mr. Oluwapelumi Oyeniyi, Osogbo, Osun State

* Of course, yes. Autonomy is the only panacea for effective services delivery at the local government level. The Joint Account Committee policy has frustrated participatory governance at that level. Autonomy will guarantee effective engagement of the leadership by the citizens because of the resource flow to the LGAs.

Mr. Boniface Kassam, Development Expert, Bauchi State

* Yes, the 774 Local Governments around the country deserve full autonomy. If granted financial autonomy especially, their monthly allocations will most likely be judiciously spent on projects because the citizens will monitor and hold them accountable for good governance or non-performance.

Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State

* Even though local government is supposed to have the greatest impact on the lives of the people, there’s so much fraud and corruption at that level of government they rarely have an impact on the development of their domains. If autonomy is given there would be increase in conflicts with state governments, thereby hampering the development process. For now, we are not ripe for LGC autonomy.

Mr. Buga Dunj, Jos, Plateau State

* Local government autonomy will not sit well with Governors who have made robbing LG funds their favourite pastime. These governors and their rubber-stamp State Assemblies will do all they can to scuttle LG autonomy. Granting fiscal autonomy to the LGs would truly bring governance closer to the people and deepen our democracy.

Mr. Abiodun Franklin Aiyegbusi, Engineer, Lagos State

* Autonomy could be granted to Local Government but not with the present structure of the Local Governments. We have to come to the point when we do some things differently. The prayer is just that the corruption will not swallow up the autonomy.

Mr. Adewumi Temitope, Agroshowroom, Osun State

* Local Governments are made to look more like state MDAs operating at the behest of the Governors administratively and financially. For local governments to serve their purpose they have to be freed from the stranglehold of the Czars.

Mr. Eze Nwangwu, Chairman, Partners for Electoral Reform & Convener, Say No Campaign Nigeria, Abuja

* Yes, local governments must be granted autonomy. They operate at the grassroots level democratically fulfilling citizens’ aspirations by responding to their plights. They also foster economic partnership and development while impacting on lives of rural dwellers etc. States’ overbearing autocracies and all the illegal deductions are worrisome.

Mr. Apeji Onesi. Lagos State

* Yes, local government should be granted full autonomy. Many shylock Governors owe workers several months’ salaries thereby sabotaging development at the grassroots level. With full autonomy development projects will easily reach the masses. The apt time is now please.

Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos State

THE RESPONSE

Yes, they should: 15

No, they shouldn’t: 1

Others: 3

Radical tip: Cut out States!

Total no of respondents: 19

Male: 17

Female: 2

Highest location: Lagos (7)

Next Week: Have Your Devt Expectations Been Met?

Although the current administration came into power on a wave of popular appeal and promise of change, many analysts believe that the expectations of Nigerians have largely not been met in terms of development. With the ever increasing yearly budget figures and huge allocations to capital expenditure and projects, has the government at federal and other levels met your identified development expectations? What should be done?  

Please make your response direct, short and simple, and state your full name, title, organisation, and location. Responses should be sent between today (March 15 & Monday, March 19) to abimbolayi@yahoo.com, greatbimbo@gmail.com, AND abimbola.akosile@thisdaylive.com. Respondents can also send a short text message to 08023117639 and/or 08188361766 and/or 08114495306. Collated responses will be published on Thursday, March 22