Lack of autonomy killing local government system - CSOs


Members of different Civil Society Organizations have continued their campaign for a total autonomy of the local government system in Nigeria.

Saga Gist recalls that the autonomy question has been in the front burner, with even President Muhammadu Buhari signing an executive order aimed at lifting the local government system off the whims and caprices of the state governors.

At a workshop in Enugu organized by a non-governmental organization, Social Action, members of the Civil Society organizations (CSOs), Community-based groups and leaders vowed to sustain their push for financial freedom at the third tier of government.

This came after a charge from the organizers on the need for citizens to always engage and demand for financial accountability and transparency from Council Chairmen in their respective localities.

The Social Action said it was supportive of the ongoing clamour and campaign for local government autonomy and accountability for effective service delivery in Nigeria.

Speaking with journalists during the two-day capacity building workshop, its senior programme officer, Prince Edegbuo regretted that lack of transparency and accountability at the Council Areas had continued to hinder development.

Our Correspondent was at the workshop with the theme: ‘Strengthening Community Voices for LGAs Service Delivering and Autonomy’, reports that the organization is using Aninri and Enugu South Council areas of the State as pilot for the programme.

According to Edegbuo, “this is a capacity building programme for CSOs, CBOs, and Community groups and leaders. It’s aimed at building their capacity on how to engage and hold LGAs managers accountable on the utilization of public funds for the development of communities.

“This project is geared towards the demand for full autonomy and independence of the LGA system in Nigeria, such that it will take that tier of government away from the whims and caprices of the state governors, considering that Nigeria operates a three tier of government.”

He added that “The appendage of LGAs to the state governments is what has made the local government system non-functional, to the detriment of the communities and it’s high time we began to talk about the separation of the LGAs from the State, so as to enable them function effectively.

“Let every tier of government have its own autonomy, so that we can hold each one accountable and responsible for failing to do what they are supposed to do.”

The programme officer hinted that the organization has plans to build the capacity of LGA staff and media personnel in different parts of the county “because you can’t be talking of development without the media.

“So, the CSOs and the communities will be doing the engagement of the LGA Chiefs, while the media will be doing the reporting, and through such collaboration, we will get positive results.

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