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Recurring problems in local government administration: Zero party as basis for election to local govt council (2)

Last week I began an examination of the problems which have adversely affected the smooth operation of Local Governments in Nigeria and how they have as a result been unable to serve the purpose of bringing government close to the people. I stated how such problems led to the recommendation of the last Constitutional Conference for a removal of the 774 Local governments from the Constitution. The recommendation attracted much debate and opposition most notably from the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees which staged a protest march on the National Judicial Institute, the venue of the Conference. Members of the Union expressed a fear for the loss of their jobs and means of livelihood amongst others.

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Recuring problems in local government administration: Need for lasting solution

Most Nigerians are now familiar with the sight of road blocks set up by Local Governments to collect one form of tax, levy or rate as the case may be. These road blocks can be found within most cities and on inter-state highways. The Local Government officials assigned to these road blocks in most cases menacingly demand payment of all manner of fees from drivers of commercial and private vehicles. Some Nigerians who have been bold enough to challenge their authority have often come away with one sordid tale or the other. Most Local Governments justify these road blocks – which they conveniently label as revenue generation drives- with the excuse that they need to shore up their dwindling allocations from the Federal and State governments in order to perform their constitutional functions. Yet it is generally agreed that most Local governments have despite their ubiquitous revenue generation drive, failed to make meaningful positive impacts on the lives of Nigerians. Designed to bring the positive effects of governance to the populace, they have on the contrary brought more hardship owing to their failure to attend to the most basic of their functions and duties. Many reasons have been adduced for this failure. There however appears to be little consensus as to the way forward to get Local Governments to function in the manner required of them.

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