Nigeria remains one of the few countries in the world that is richly blessed with abundant human and natural resources such as Crude oil, Lime stones, Precious stone, Natural gas, Bitumen, Tin, Uranium precious stones amongst others. It also has vast land of arable farm, of which if cultivated, can feed the population of West Africa. With an estimated population of over One Hundred and Sixty Million (160,000), it has been predicted by many World Economic authorities such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Nigeria has the potentials of becoming one of the greatest economies of the world by year 2020.
With the return of Democracy in Nigeria in 1999 many people heaved a sigh of relief. There are high expectations by all relevant stakeholders and the citizens at home and in diaspora including the International communities from elected leaders. All are yearning for good governance which has been elusive in many parts of the country despite all the available resources.
The efforts of Lagos State Government in bringing development to the Citizen of the State is not going un-noticed as so many people including those living in the State and visitors have highly commended the Lagos State Government for the infrastructures put in place and many other developmental projects going on in the State. Despite all these accolades coming to the Lagos State Government, the impact can be better felt at the grassroots if the Local Government Areas in Lagos State are marching up with the State in terms of developmental efforts to create equilibrium in development.
Good governance continues to be a challenge at all levels; Local Government, State and Federal. The Government on many occasions has introduced many policy interventions geared at improving governance at the local level but the impact of these interventions has always been minimal and short-lived. There have been a lot of debates on reasons for the failure of these policy interventions by different Stakeholders and experts in Local Government Administration in Nigeria. Many reasons have been adduced to these failures, but for an evidence based assertion, The Partnership for good governance is proposing to embark on a field research to ascertain the findings from the local government self-institutional assessment.
The just concluded self-institutional assessment conducted by the partnership for good governance (PaGG) for 3 pilot LGAs in Lagos State namely: Ibeju-Lekki, Eti-Osa and Amuwo-Odofin. The assessment revealed key emerging issues that hinder good governance at the local government in Lagos State. These could be the bane for underdevelopment at the grassroots specifically not only in Lagos State but the entire country in general.
Some of the Key issues identified as challenges within the local government during the self-institutional assessment include:
- The LGAs’ mandate and organogram lacks uniformity and uncertainty of the right custodian of the document.
- There is overlapping of functions between various departments/unclear definition of roles
- There is inadequate resources, office equipment and facilities to perform duties
- There is shortage of professional staff and other cadres e.g. Budget department
- Adverse effect of posting and transfer of personnel on productivity
- Diminishing outlet for IGR at LGA as a result of state IGR activities
- Lumping of many functions in one department e.g. Agriculture and Rural and Social development department
- Limited awareness of LGA’s constitutional civil responsibilities to citizens
- There is absent of synergy and coordination between SUBEB and ELGA
The yearning of majority of people living in Lagos state is that good governance can further achieve result if there is improvement in the level of governance at the local level, as it is at the state level. There is a general consensus that Local government is closer to the people than any other tier of government and any development that comes from them will be more impactful than from any other arm of government.
Therefore, for Local government to function efficiently there is need for proper and true separation of power between the State and the Local government. In other words, there is need for policy reforms that will empower the local government to be truly independent which will enable them function efficiently. In addition to this, there is also need for Institution and administrative reforms at the local government, this will not only strengthened local government administration but also create a sustainable system that can withstand any political changes which will enhance the service delivery capacity of the local government.