A Chieftain of New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Olufemi Ajadi Oguntoyinbo has said that the autonomy of local government administration would not only strengthen Nigeria’s democracy but also stabilise its existence and enhance better livelihood of the masses.
He urged the National Assembly to pass a bill granting its autonomy.
He stated this in a statement on Saturday on various issues relating to political and economic matters, particularly on the deteriorating condition of inner roads and primary health facilities in almost all the 36 states, especially Ogun State.
The billionaire-business magnate cum politician stressed that the Federal Republic of Nigeria remains a corporate democratic setting whose administrative system could not be acknowledged as a complete one without autonomy to the government that is the closest to the people at the grassroots levels.
Ajadi, a governorship candidate of the NNPP in Ogun State at the 2023 election, said many Nigerians were more concerned about the Federal and State budget, not minding that of local government that is very close to them.
He said that the power being granted to Federal and state governments in Nigeria to enjoy their autonomy and prevention of undue interference by any tier of government should be replicated at the local government level.
He noted that local government was the closest to the rural dwellers and the only way and means to make those inhabitants enjoy the dividends and goodies of democracy was by giving autonomy to local government.
Ajadi maintained that it was undemocratic for the state governments in the country to continue to erode the powers and functions of Local Government with introduction of caretaker administrative system, stressing that its introduction in a full democratic setting is an aberration to the principle system of government the country is operating.
He said that the Federal System of Government in the country gave room for federal, state and local governments to remain and exist in their own jurisdiction, noting however, that it was amazing that local governments’ powers and functions have been taken over by many states government.
He also lamented that the state governments’ take over of financial power, inability to present fiscal budget, execution of notable projects have no doubt rendered local governments as toothless bulldogs.
He called on both Houses of Representatives and Senate to enhance not only the theoretical autonomy of the third tier of government but also its practical free governing.
Ajadi blamed leadership problem as one of the major obstacles hindering the possibility of local government autonomy in Nigeria’s democratic setting, stressing that majority of those who are fortunate to serve as local government chairmen at the helms of affairs are square pegs in a round hole and round pegs in a square hole.
He pointed out that when the needed qualities of leadership and democratic tenets are not embeded in those who are charged to serve at the local levels, to attain optimal results, effectiveness and efficiency would be an herculean task.
According to him, there were so many things which are not within the purview of state governments, adding that it was only chairmen who can identify the needs of people at the grassroots and deliver such effectively, hence the need for its autonomy.