Zephaniah Jisalo, the Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs has said financial restrictions slows down the growth pace of the 774 local government areas (LGAs) across Nigeria.
Jisalo made these revelations during a two-day workshop titled “Local Government Administration in Nigeria: Reviewing the Trajectories, Trends, and Projections in Today’s Economic and Political Realities.” The event was organised by the National Association of Chairmen of Local Government Service Commissions.
Speaking further, Jisalo highlighted the grave challenges faced by LGAs in delivering essential services to their respective communities. He pointed out that these challenges were primarily due to financial restrictions, inadequate infrastructure, and a lack of autonomy. The minister emphasized that this situation had the potential to lead to growing frustration and discontent among the populace.
“In terms of trends and realities, our local governments have faced a variety of difficulties in the midst of political and economic changes. Their capacity to offer crucial services to grassroots communities has been hampered by financial restrictions, inadequate infrastructure, and a lack of autonomy,” Jisalo said. “As a result, citizens are now frustrated, and there is a likelihood that discontent will grow.”
The minister, represented by Patience Ehujo, the Director of Inter-governmental Affairs at the ministry, noted the government’s commitment to rejuvenate the local government system. The proposed measures include promoting empowered autonomy, capacity development, community engagement through frequent town hall meetings, and establishing robust implementation mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability in resource allocation and utilization at the local government level. Collaborative partnerships were also emphasised.
Also at the event, Bawa Sani, Chairman of the National Association of Chairmen of Local Government Service Commissions, called for the unification of rules and regulations within the local government system nationwide. He stressed the importance of a harmonious working relationship between the working class and the political class at the grassroots level.
“We started this forum last year, and the essence was to establish a relationship whereby the working class and the political class will come together, exchange ideas, and fraternize with one another,” Sani said. “It is also a forum where all the directors from all over the country will come together and discuss issues as they concern the civil service.”
He further added, “With that, we can unify the rules and regulations, such that what is obtainable in Jigawa, if you go to Bayelsa, you will see the same thing in terms of nomenclature and everything you can think of, as well as progression from one level to another, among others.”