By Obafemi George
We’re in the season of change. For the first time in Nigeria’s history, the voice of the people resonated loudly at the polls when the then opposition party APC was voted into power. It was a defining moment for our nation when the ever-resilient Nigerian people stamped their feet and declared that enough is enough of the plundering of the treasury, and maladministration of the Nigerian nation by the PDP government.
The sordid revelations of the activities of the bigwigs in the last administration that we daily read in the news are quite depressing. Imagine the difference the billions of dollars that have been allegedly traced to these people would have made in the Nigerian economy as the revenue from oil continues to dwindle?
I am certain that Nigerians made a great choice in electing President Buhari as President. In the few months since becoming president, General Buhari has been able to restore Nigeria’s respect in the international community.
Though there might be challenges here and there, an unbiased assessment of the Buhari’s regime will reveal that the change agenda is on the right track and to fully maximise the change agenda and deliver the dividends of democracy to the Nigerian people, I believe that the local government administration should be given utmost priority as a means of reaching the people at the grassroots
Majority of Nigerians can only feel the effects of the change agenda if the local government administration across the country is effective. Being the third layer of government after the federal and state governments, the local government is the closest to the people and as such must be empowered to function effectively.
The present state of local government administration across the federation needs urgent attention and improvement. If we must ensure that growth is witnessed at the grassroots, then there must be creativity and out of the box thinking by the administrators. Local Government cannot continue to depend on the dwindling federal government monthly allocations.
Development in health services, education and agriculture in the 21st century requires innovative thinking by local government administrators. They are the chief executives of the local government they must think as such.
The present state of insecurity in our nation can be stemmed with the stimulation of employment opportunities at the local government level through job creation and youth empowerment schemes. There is a direct correlation between the poor and security, with a double digit rate of unemployment and 60% of whom are the youth, the local government already has it’s job well cut out. When people are actively engaged at the local level, the forced huge influx into the city will reduce and crime around the country will reduce, too. Remember the saying that an idle hand is the devil’s workshop?
The safety net provisions for the poor and the vulnerable in the 2016 budget can successfully be implemented by the local government. Who can know the vulnerable and the poorest of the poor better than the government at the grassroots? It is my humble submission that the local government should actively drive this awesome idea by the Buhari government to lift Nigerians out of poverty.
Also, in a bid to find lasting solution to the security challenge of our nation, state and local governments’ police is the answer. When police forces are localized, they become more effective.
For example, the ratio of the Lagos Police Force to Lagosians is not encouraging. Imagine the huge employment opportunities that will be created, if police is localised in Lagos to police the state?
Undeniably, if change must really happen in our nation, local government administration must be given utmost priority. It can be done.
Obafemi George is a political scientist and a member of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Eti-Osa Local Government. Lagos State.