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20.02.2013 Feature Article

Delta LGS: Issues, Challenges And Prospects

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The Local Government system has been a major feature of Nigeria government and politics since colonial rule.

Though, over the years there have been changes in name, structure and composition, the system was operated differently all over the country. The Local Government is created to serve the rural communities.

The local government is expected to mobilize and harness local resources and ensure their effective utilization with the support of the state and Federal Government. Unfortunately, the much needed development has continued to elude the rural communities across the nation. It has been rural poverty rather than rural development.

However, the prevalence of poverty and the underdevelopment at the grassroots level is still connected with the high level of corruption and absence of democratic ethos in the local government system.


In Delta State, Local Government system has been replaced with Caretaker Committee Chairmen

late last year which Local Government Chairmen were purportedly sacked and replaced with HRMs that have ruled the Delta State Local Governments illegally and unconstitutionally for close to two years and few months.

2015 is not far from the general elections, yet the Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan failed to conduct the election rather inviting the Honorable Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku to inspect the state of Delta State infrastructural developments while the people of Deltans are living in object poverty.

This idea is dodgy, egocentric and of cabalistic interest.45 percent of Governors in Nigeria are yet to conduct LG elections while only few constitutionally conducted their own without qualms.

By April 20, 2013 the Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole will be conducting his much- awaited LGs elections while others are busy postponing their political responsibilities.

Some Governors are voracious and rapacious in the sense that they are completing their second tenure in office and planning to run for National Assembly elections in 2015 and trying to destroy the entire political process that brought them to power or even frustrate ambitious candidates not to be elected in their choice political offices.

The recent Nigerian constitutional review indicated that the issue of Local Government Autonomy was raised to make the 774 Local governments viable at the grassroots level which the state governments totally disagreed to be the custodian of the Local Government Allocation to be controlled by the State governors. To the extent that some past and present Governors of federation in Nigeria created illegal and unconstitutional LCDAs, apart from the recognized local governments in the country.

The amended 1999 constitution provides for the three tiers of government which the state governors have decide to hijack the funds belonging to the local Governments. It is of view that the Local Governments in Nigeria have greatly suffered political and economic setbacks for not being their own custodian of the funds.

The Delta State House of Assembly has not make any political move to draw the attention of the Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan over unnecessary delays of the LGs elections in spite that new Delta State Independent Electoral officials were set up to conduct the local governments but rather aiding and abetting the Governor for heinous crime with media hype and nothing else.

The cloud is now clear that the Delta State Local Government polls would not hold for just any accurate reason for that unconstitutional breach of the said Governor of Delta State. The battle of titans many aspirants jostling for one position in the state has been betrayed by those in government.

Several accusing fingers have been pointed at the Governor for his supposedly refusal to conduct the local government polls and even taken him to court for inaugurating illegal and unlawful caretaker committee chairmen, yet failed to adjust his political mistakes while using the social media to promote projects that are not visible in the state.

While some people endorsed the suspension of local government election due to the previous chairmen non performances and reckless attitude of diverting the public funds as their personal uses.

Some media gurus that used to correct the political anomalies of government leadership are now partners of corruption and full blown beneficiaries of the largesse of the state while using new automobiles and mansions to intimidate the suffering Deltans in the land.

It is conspicuously clear that Uduaghan would not conduct the local government election before July or being afraid of All Progressive Congress (APC) coalition of notable political parties in Nigeria over the PDP.

The local government election is no longer news but the news now is how best the election will be conducted. There are many aspirants who are vying for the same position in different local governments. The problem is that some of the aspirants are there for what they can get and not for the interest of the masses.

Some of them are not qualified to even contest for councillorship position while some are being sponsored by godfathers and of which if they get there, their mission will be to embezzle money while some have no pedigrees. Most of the aspirants should be thoroughly screened in their various party primaries so that good candidates can definitely emerge in the long run.

To some extent, Uduaghan has gallfly performed well and need good and effective chairmen to complement his effort. Most of the state governors in Nigeria have graciously performed than Uduaghan.

Though the National Assembly directed some of the State governors to conduct their local governments that are still not yet conducted their LGs elections because of promoting illegalities in their various states in Nigeria.

Some of the state governors succeeded in inaugurating illegal transition caretaker

committee chairmen with no due process. The purpose which the local government was created by the Federal Government in 1976 by then Military Head of State, Rt. Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo has been totally defeated by powers that be and the greed of State governors in Nigeria while the Nigerian Governors forum is mere waste and to defraud the entire political process.

If local government autonomy is granted, automatically, there would be massive grassroots development and nothing else.

The so-called 25 local governments in Delta State, only few infrastructural developments could be seen than corruption that has crept into the system while some of the former corrupt local government officials are yet to be investigated and arrested by the EFCC.

Some schools of thought still wonder when Dr Uduaghan would conduct local government elections when only one year and half is left to 2015 general elections. The National Assembly senators must re-visit the issue of governors not conducting their LGs polls in Nigeria rather siphoning the monthly Federal Government allocations.

If the Federal government controls local governments in Nigeria , unnecessary delays of elections by state governors would be put to stop or not tolerated while grassroots development would be felt by the people . One of the problems confronting Delta State LGs is

the spate of abandoned projects by previous chairmen and the state governor failed to supervise them which generally created a classified corrupt persons in the system. Even though the eternal auditors are sent by the state government to monitor the activities of these chairmen in the state, corruption would still be pronounced at the highest level.

Those veritable aspirants jostling to contest for Delta LGs are yet to know their fate because of the political vagueness of Uduaghan. Some of these Delta LGs chairmen are only engrossed in spurious projects that are never in existence while the caretaker committee chairmen are liable to sleaze if not monitored by EFCC and ICPC to save Uduaghan's eight years leadership of the state.

More importantly, Dr, Uduaghan as a resonate politician with good political background of his school days and failure to conduct the local government elections would go a long way in making the leadership of the state thorny for new governor that would be elected in 2015.

If the election is conducted, then tenure of the Local government chairmen would be transitory , that is projects ought to be completed and provided by the government officials would be in rush without proper supervision while some would influence projects that never awarded.

Ultimately, Dr. Uduaghan is acting out rightly to the tenets of the 1999 amended constitution and
democracy followed by other selfish governors who failed to conduct their LGs polls in last two years.

Most of the local governments in Nigeria need gigantic development at the grassroots which directly helps to promote the state leadership at all levels. States like Edo, Bayelsa, Cross River and others must conduct their elections now. Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan must do what is right for the good people of Delta State than promoting illegality in the state.

***GODDAY ODIDI. PUBLIC AFFAIRS ANALYST.08058124798.20 Oro street Ajegunle Apapa Lagos***

GODDAY ODIDI
GODDAY ODIDI, © 2013

The author has 62 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: GODDAYODIDI

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