• Thursday, June 20, 2024
businessday logo


Prof. Okaba Supports Federal Government’s Push for Local Government Autonomy

Prof. Okaba Supports Federal Government’s Push for Local Government Autonomy

Prof. Benjamin Okaba, President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) Worldwide, has endorsed the call for local government administrative autonomy.

Speaking at the “Presidential Retreat Warri 2024” organized by the Association of Professional Body of Nigeria (APBN), Delta State chapter, Okaba emphasized the importance of empowering local governments to better address the needs of the grassroots population.

During the two-day event themed “Contemporary Challenges in Nigeria: The Response of Professionals,” Prof. Okaba underscored the significance of restoring fiscal and administrative autonomy to local government bodies, citing their proximity to the people and their understanding of local issues.

He urged support for the government’s efforts to enhance governance at the grassroots level, advocating for a well-coordinated community policing system and other restructuring principles to foster national unity and prosperity.

Identifying key challenges facing Nigeria such as bad governance, weak institutions, lack of national identity, and ethical decline, the sociology professor from the Federal University, Otueke, Bayelsa, expressed confidence that these hurdles were not insurmountable.

Emphasizing the need for individuals across all sectors to become agents of positive change, Prof. Okaba stressed the role of patriotism in prioritizing the nation’s interests and advancing professional duties with integrity and diligence.

In his address, Prof. Okaba urged Nigerians to demonstrate love for their country through everyday actions, highlighting patriotism as a catalyst for overcoming Nigeria’s challenges.

He called for a collective commitment to upholding ethical standards and striving for excellence in all endeavours, emphasizing the importance of individual attitudes and capabilities in shaping the country’s future.

“As a professional, you should see your work as a contribution to national development, knowing that any form of ineptitude from you will affect the client and the nation at large.

“We should love Nigeria to the extent that we will lead our organisations and subordinates well to achieve set objectives

“In doing so, we are adding value to the various social institutions that hold the country together.

“Let us see ourselves as social influencers and agents of positive change, by making transparency, accountability and stewardship our watchword in all our endeavors,” he said.

Okaba urged professional organisations to go beyond protecting the rights and interests of their members and monitor their conduct to meet the needs of society.

He also urged the professionals to collaborate with the government and be politically active to move the country forward.

The don urged the professionals to utilise their platform to demand accountability from those holding sensitive positions in government.

“We should not only criticise government policies but be part of the decision-making process. This will be possible when we fight to become party stakeholders and political officeholders.

“We should not shy away from politics, because if you leave politics for the “miscreants” you will be the number one beneficiary of their misrule,” he said.

He, however, advocated for the introduction of professional clubs in schools to prepare the young and potential professionals, especially from the primary and secondary school levels.

As support grows for initiatives aimed at strengthening local governance and promoting national development, Prof. Okaba’s endorsement of the federal government’s push for local government autonomy adds a significant voice to the ongoing discourse on governance reform in Nigeria.

Earlier, the President of APBN, Mr Manason Rubainu said that the retreat marked a significant milestone in the association’s collective journey towards contributing to the socio-economic and political development of Nigeria.

“This retreat is an opportunity for us to harness our collective strength and forge a unified path towards a better Nigeria.

“The purpose of this retreat is clear: to deliberate on how we, as an association encompassing all professional bodies in Nigeria, can work together more effectively.

“Our goal is to provide a clear and strategic direction that will enhance the socio-economic and political landscape of our nation.

“We are here to discuss, innovate, and develop actionable plans that will not only address the challenges we face but also capitalise on the opportunities before us,” he said.

Rubainu said that the event would explore various themes critical to national development and urged the participants to be actively involved in all the sessions.

On his part, Dr Sony Ali, the Chairman of, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the APBN 2024 Presidential Retreat said that the event would offer a rare opportunity to brainstorm on issues of national importance.

“The retreat will offer rare opportunities of learning, unlearning, brainstorming and synergising with a view to responding to contemporary challenges in Nigeria,” Ali said.

In attendance wwas Suvy. Akinloye Oyegbola, chairman of the retreat, Mr Abel Omalu, Tpl Paul Akporowho, Mr Maxi Okafor, Dr Festus Oshoba, Pharm Adefolake Adeniyi among other professionals.