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Local govt can work for the poor

Of the three tiers of government, the local government is supposed to be the closest to the people due to its proximity which makes it better positioned to understand and address the specific needs of the people.

This helps to complement the work of both the state and the Federal Government which depend on the feedback they receive from the local government to do their job.

In most cases, provision of social amenities like pipe-borne water, motorable roads and a host of others is often seen as the basic responsibilities of a local government.

However, the reverse is usually the case as some local governments are known to have gone asleep if the near-absence of desired services at the grassroots level is anything to go by.

A recent survey revealed that peoples’ participation in local government budgeting processes was very low as most residents do not know their ward councillors or local government chairmen or relate to the local councils.

Meanwhile, the Orderly Society Trust and the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism have called for effective local governance in the country.

In a communique issued at the end of a one-day symposium in commemoration of the 77th birthday anniversary of Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka which took place in Lagos, the organisations also called for the support of the media, saying their role is a significant achievement in making effective governance a reality.

The symposium had as its theme: ‘’Making local governance work for the poor”. Led by Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Lagos legal crusader Mr. Femi Falana and Director, United Nations Institute for African Development and Planning, UNIDEP, Dakar, Professor Adebayo Olukoshi, the symposium agreed that the following measures ought to be pursued as a matter of urgency: Ordinary citizens must be encouraged to be active in budget monitoring at the local government levels.

Community organisers must be encouraged to play a greater role in local government administration, starting with much needed financial oversight, while the media must do more in terms of community reporting and putting the challenges of local particularly important in that regard.

Also, the media and civil society organisations must work in tandem to raise the level of public awareness.


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