Sunday, April 22, 2012

Local Government Autonomy is the answer.

Local Government Autonomy is the answer. The Senate and House of Representative have respectively set up committees to review the 1999 constitution and the senate President David Mark, in setting up the 47 member senate committee had posed a number of questions. He asked, “How effective are the Local Government? Should they be made to function independently to the States? Is the joint State/Local Government Account still necessary? The question of Local Government effectiveness and the State/Local Government joint account has being in the front burner for a long time and it was generally agreed that anything short of granting administrative and fiscal autonomy to LG councils will not be acceptable to Nigerians. To buttress this point, let us look at the contributions of some prominent Nigerians in the issue. In one of his lectures captioned, “the individual, the party and National Unity”, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi wrote, ‘then we have the issue of whether we have a two-tier Government or three -tier Government. The constitution is very clear because it refers to the third-tier as a Government but all the State Governments are united as one in not regarding the Local Government as an autonomous tier of Government. When all the Governors speak with one voice for a change I get very worried. But it sounds schizophrenic to me for the State Governors to be consistent in loudly advocating that the powers and financial allocations to the centre should be reduced, that the Federal Government should get off their backs, and yet, at the same time, they are not prepared to sanction and recognize the autonomous status for the third-tier of Government. Again, on the question of whether the State/Local Government account still necessary, let’s hear out what the former ALGON National President, Felix Akhabue said, “A situation where allocation already made to the Local Government by the Federation Account Committee (FACC) is subjected to redistribution by the State Government is a clear breach of the constitution. The question is can the Federal Government police funds disbursed to the State Government from the Federation account? The answer is clear No, then where those the State derive the legal and moral backing to do the same to the local Government. Statutory allocations to each tier of Government should be sacrosanct. It is only by being so that you can hold that tier of Government responsible and accountable. Senator Ike Ekweremadu, towing the same line also wrote “In 2002, the State Government brought a suit against the Federal Government for deducting first line charges for joint venture investment in oil sector, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation priority projects and external dept service. While the supreme court judgment favoured the State Governments, it appears that most States are guilty of the same act as the Local Government in many instances have continued to suffer fiscal emasculation in the hands of State Governments. Finally, now that we have the opportunity to amend the constitution, let us determine once and for all the uniform policy of Local Government administration with regard to structure, tenure, administrative independence and fiscal autonomy. This is the only way we can guarantee even development to our communities and spread the dividends of democracy to the people. Jeff Nkwocha LG Study Network 08030485016

Friday, February 10, 2012

Prince Abass Aleshinloye and Development of Oluyole Local Government Area

Prince Ayodeji Abass Aleshinloye

Local government councils are the arm of Government closest to the grassroots and from which people and the communities expect the most dividends of democracy but this hardly come true because of lack of adequate funding,undue interference from state governments etc.

Regardless, some smart managers of these establishments have been able to use the limited resources at their disposal to make appreciable impact on local communities.

For instance, Oluyole Local Government Area of Oyo Sate has been reworked under the able leadership of Prince Abass Aleshinloye, the executive caretaker committee chairman. Prince Aleshinloye anchored his developmental stride on Road construction, health care delivery, education and workers welfare.

Indeed, a major milestone has been achieved in road rehabilitation, he has not only embarked on massive grading of all earth roads, he has flagged off the tarring of major road at Odo-Ona Elewe and Olomi side at Ile Sheu.

On healthcare delivery, Hon. Aleshinloye policy of partnering with Non Governmental Organization like the Lions Club is paying off as over 1150 free eye glasses has been distributed across the LG Area. 30 patients receive free surgery operations and there is a program of free medical check-up to the people. Education is not left out as free exercise books are procured and distributed to secondary and primary school pupils on regular basis.

In rallying support for his Government from corporate organizations, NGOs and other stakeholders in the council Area, Prince Aleshinloye said, “we believe that government cannot be running all alone and you cannot sit down and be waiting for the monthly allocation, we have to move so as to be able to do things for the benefit of our people''.

Jeff Nkwocha

LG Study Network

warri Delta State