BY CALEB AYANSINA
ABUJA – The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Mr Ekpo Nta, yesterday, categorically noted that the country could only develop evenly, if the local government council as a third tier of government is accorded its place in governance and officials are thoroughly equipped with sound managerial acumen.
Nta said that local government in Nigeria had the least developed institutional processes in the country.
To this end, he said the commission had taken it upon itself to still integrity in the process of governance by educating local government officials on the corruption-prone processes, to improve good governance at the local level.
Nta was speaking at the Anti-Corruption, Ethics and Integrity Training in Local Government Administration for Chairmen, Auditor-Generals and Secretaries Local Government Service Commissions in 36 States and the FCT, organized by Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN), in Abuja.
He maintained that in the first republic, the local government was a fulcrum upon where development was based in the country, “but the situation now is different.”
Nta further said that in spite of the fact that all the wealth of the country was being generated at the local government level, yet they were still underdeveloped due to corruption.
ICPC Boss added that most of the people in government were being set up by civil servant due to their level of administrative knowledge.
“People fell into trap set up by civil servants long before they came in as local government chairman or chairman of local government service commission. But with this kind of training, you can escape this by gathering knowledge on the corruption prone processes in the local government administration,” he said.
In his remarks, the Provost, ACAN, Prof. Sola Akinrinade noted that the only language understood by local dwellers is provision of social facilities like roads, power, water, schools, health centers etc.
He added that people see government as failure, when the managers of resources failed to deliver good governance to them, adding that it is pertinent to equip managers of ‘our commonwealth’ at all local councils with managerial skills.
According to him, “When these basic services fail, the government has failed. Thus, a great deal depends on the managers of our local governments not to fail the people.
“Unfortunately, reports over the years have not given us cause for confidence. Sordid tales of happenings at our local governments relate to the manifestation of corruption in great propitiations particularly relative to the funds being made available. There is no visible evidence of the presence of government in most places.
“While the resources being made available to the managers at all levels of government in the country keep dwindling due to economic challenges, this is not an excuse for our leaders at the local government level to fail us perpetually. At the minimum, funds should be applied to the purposes for which they have been released.”
Akinrinade called on the participants to take advantage of the workshop as they would be expected to lay the ground rules and offer effective monitoring of happenings at their local government areas.