by Usman Alabi
The YMonitor Quarterly show is here again. The show will be on Rubbin’ Mind at 3:00PM, this Sunday, 8th of October, 2017 on Channels TV.
The topic of discourse is “Constitutional Amendment and Local government autonomy” . The guest speaker is a former Local government Chairmanship aspirant for Mainland LGA in Lagos, Mr Dayo Israel and Mr Wofai Robert, a Legal Practitioner.
Governance at the local government level is characterised by citizens’ apathy and disinterest in governance at that Level. Many don’t care about what their Local government is doing; some do not even think it is necessary to hold neither LGAs responsible nor their LGA Chairmen accountable to their manifestos. Hence citizens’ activism at the Local government level is practically nonexistent. This is perhaps responsible for the poor delivery of public goods at that level as well as corruption. Even during elections, those that come out to vote are touts, market women and party stalwarts. Majority of the citizens prefer to stay back at home because of a perception that they are not in any way affected by the LGAs or because they can provide for themselves all that the LGAs are meant to provide.
Some of the reasons for the above are the direct influence of states on the LGAs both politically and financially. The state and Local government operates a joint account, hence the state determines how much the LGAs receive, also after the tenure of an LGA chairman, rather than conduct election immediately, the state appoint a sole administrator to be in charge of the LGA pending the time of election.
In the recent constitutional amendment exercise however, The National Assembly amended section 162(6) of the 1999 constitution which states thus “Each state shall maintain a special account called the “State Joint Local Government Account” into which shall be paid all allocations to the Local Government Councils of the State from the Federation Account and from the Government of the State”.
The new amendment to this law however stipulates that LGs should have their own personal account. The alterations includes, separation of the state accounts from LGA accounts and mandating the direct credit of LGA funds into the LGA accounts; mandating the state house of assemblies to set aside a portion of the IGR generated in the states that must be paid into the LGA accounts.
The second amendment introduces independent candidacy to Local government election, prescribed a fixed term of three years, and corrects the anomaly of state governors sacking local government councils and replacing them with appointed caretakers.
The guest speaker will be speaking on these issues. Throwing in more light on the circumstances surrounding LGA autonomy and other related issues.
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