The National Union of Local Government Employees’ (NULGE) recently went round Benin City, to sensitize the Citizenry on the autonomy of local Government on one side, while the teacher’s are saying no to the local Government autonomy. In the news commentary Victor Humah, our guest writer, states the way forward on this development.
Local government is widely acknowledged as a viable instrument for rural transformation and for delivery of social services to the people. It is strategically located to fulfill the above functions because of its physical and psychological distant between officials of the other tiers of government responsiveness, and simplicity of operations.
However, despite the strategic importance of the local government to the national development process, its contribution has been minimal. Some observers in the past attempted to provide reasons for the ineffectiveness of local government in the development process. While others agree that the ineffectiveness of local government derives primarily from excessive government control. Admittedly, states have undermined the financial viability of local government by diverting statutorily allocated grants for local governments as well as encroaching on their revenue yielding functions like markets, Motor Parks, tenement rates, Liquor licensing.
Obviously, the current campaign by the National Union of Local Government Employees’ (NULGE) and fears shown by teachers against the Local government autonomy are result of behaviour and attitudes of the persons who operated the system, and treated local governments as a super ordinate and subordinate tier of government.
Be that is it may, the Local government commission should be strengthened to coordinate, advise on periodic reviews of structural arrangements. set standards that would determine policies on local government training programmes.
More importantly, the state governments’ involvement in local government affairs should be acknowledged and appropriate institutional arrangements made to regularize this involvement. Based on this. A National local government commission should be established among other things coordinate the Inter-governmental aspects of local government affairs on a continuous and permanent basis.
Today, the tendency to ignore the political factor in the Management of local government had reduced local government to instruments of regulation and control Local governments which ought to be seen as instrument of mobilization is usually not complex and generally does not really require sophisticated and highly qualified personnel for effective performance.
All in all, the nearness of local governments to the people place them in a position where they can easily articulate and aggregate the demands of the people.
A government operating at the grassroots level is indeed, more likely to be attached to the
needs of the people, Consequent upon this, the National Union of Local Government Employers’ (NULGE) and the teacher’s should pray and wait patiently for the outcome of this all important resolution(s) from the various House Assembly.