Friday, 6 September 2013

Local Governments- The Inefficiency Machine.

If you did not know, we do have Local Governments in Nigeria. In fact there are over 700 of them spaced out around our great nation.
But I really would like to know what they are doing?
Local Governments are by Legislation, the third tier of the Federal/Administrative Structure of Nigeria. It means in simple language that they are the government closest to the people. They are the government we should know and be able to relate with. In Nigeria, the men at the helm are called Local Government Chairmen and in other countries say America, they are known as 'Mayors'
From the foregoing, I suppose it would fair to expect that citizens in any local government areas know their 'Mayor' and can access him easier than a State Governor.
But Nope, that is not the case.
I have lived in a particular part of Lagos for the last 15years, I do not know what Local Government my residence falls under, much less know the name of the chairman or the building that house him and his 'cronies'
So I asked around and took some time to investigate the duties of a Local government. So yea, read please
Local Governments are to
a. Provide Economic recommendations to the State;
b. Collect  taxes and fees;
c. Establish and maintain cemeteries, burial grounds and homes for the destitute or sick;
d. License bicycles, trucks (other than mechanically propelled trucks), canoes, wheel barrows and carts;
e. Establish, maintain and regulate markets, motor parks and public conveniences;
f. Construct and maintain roads, streets, drains and other public highways, parks, and open spaces;
g. Name roads and streets and number houses;
h. Provide and maintain public transportation and refuse disposal;
I.  Registration of births, deaths and marriages;
j.  Assess privately owned houses or tenements for the purpose of levying such rates as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly of a State; and,
k. Control and regulate of out-door advertising, movement and keeping of pets of all descriptions, shops and kiosks, restaurants and other places for sale of food to the public, and laundries.
Which of the foregoing does your local government do for you?
Oh I know!
Anything that stipulates collection of Taxes, Fees! Anything and everything that can bring income is executed perfectly by our Local Governments.
But  paragraphs C & F are usually left to the State Government to fix. I have never heard (and I stand to be corrected) of any local government that has paid for construction of roads, I can name 3 roads in the area that I stay in that have been bad since I was old enough to pay attention: Oke-Ira Road, Akins Road, and the current Ajah bus stop which is a huge mess). And I suppose if they did do roads, they would do the roads of people who are loyal to the political parties they represent.
I see the boys (high on weed & its like substances) every morning running after public transportation vehicles, charging obscene amounts from drivers trying to make a decent living.
I have not seen an Orphanage run by the Local Government where I reside, instead I have seen them try to tax the orphanages privately run.
It would be normal for one to expect that we conduct town hall meetings to discuss burning Area issues. But I guess the Local Government is kin to the Federal Government, so service to the people is forbidden.
Instead I have heard of Local Government chairmen who own homes in the United states paid for upfront.
And while I have heard that Local Governments face issues of Local Government Autonomy and amount of resources that they actually get, I do not believe that it is sufficient justification for non-performance.
Today, I charge you to ask about your local government, let us start from the bottom, perhaps we might spark change like Lucas says.
It is just through my eyes.
*****Further Information on Local Governments****
Each Local Government Areas is further subdivided into wards with a minimum of ten and a maximum of fifteen.

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