AN X-RAY OF OUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT -A catena of failed expectations-
The root in the Local Government has necessitated and legitimized any genuine effort by any state government to redress the shame in the existence of the councils in the states.
These local government councils have constantly failed to live up to the expectation of their mandate in making sure that people at the grassroots feel the impact of the government in measurable terms.
Local governments have been hijacked by so called powerful individuals who claim to be leaders and spokesmen who have invariably become De facto owners to whom these local governments have been ceded. They are known to be doubtful philanthropist who claims to have the masses at their beck and call.
This is their greatest trump card for deceit.
Governments without the right discernment have trusted the chameleonic utterances of such leaders by allowing them manipulate the party machinery in such a way that Local government chairmen and councilors must be produced through their endorsement if they are to win section election called elections where the electoral process denies the electorate their legitimate mandate.
The so called executive chairmen are therefore reduced to mere robots and stooges that must take instruction from such leaders.
These leaders have place the Local government under siege, the traditional rulers who are supposed to fight and ensure the wellbeing of their subject once they collect their allowances, they retire to their urban and rural places unaware of the insecurity, tax evasion and mismanagement in their local governments areas because they are cajoled into believing that they will live forever.
In situations where their utterances and resolutions can bring about positive changes, their votes are eclipsed in a conspiracy of silence typical of no mans land.
Party leaders of all descriptions and stake holders in a desperate swinish scramble to reap where they did not sow: gather in the councils at the arrival of local government federal allocations to have their share of the national cake. Council officials are not left out f the game as they are known to award contracts to themselves and sublet same to close friends whose sharp practices lead to abandonment of contracts, revalidation and profit sharing to that at the end of the day, huge funds have been salted away without any tangible evidence of work one after making council workers millionaires. No wonder why council workers resist deployment under the guise of autonomy of the establishment. This is the local government for you across the country.
It is unfortunate that the masses have continued in vain to hope against hope as promises by local government bosses, whether elected or appointed have become the Sunday – Sunday medicine” In episodic, repetitive and puerile tough pronouncements ranging from carrying everybody along; warning against gossip; absenteeism; open administration; teamwork and payment of outstanding allowances; to dealing firmly with nonconformists.
This has been the order of the day at the inception of any administration while the workers applaud as the “soldier comes and goes”
Professional praise singers will then take over and consummate the orgy of unrealizable manifesto and verbal dividends of democracy.
Invariably there is a rapid return to status quo to organize useless seminars and workshops on nothing to give the despondent apathetic workforce a sense of belonging. How can the masses anticipate any good from their local governments where chairmen share the allocations from their hotel rooms after which they disappear and make occasional pilgrimages to their council offices only to explain their absence with doubtful meeting at the government house.
Some dry season, strategic roads are graded to rake up dust to justify sacrilegious expenditure instead of making them motor able.
Cottage industries to create employment are often promised to the rural dwellers but these are not in the agenda of local government councils as funds have been spent upfront on frivolities.
Any community that wants portable drinking ware will buy or sink her own boreholes. Mediocre supervisory councilors clad in administrative ineptitude end up serving visitors all in the offices instead of initiating positive proposals to generate revenuer to make the councils visible.
Take a trip to any local government headquarters and weep over grave yard silence, dilapidated infrastructures, unkempt weedy environment that reminds you of war torn establishments. The publicity hungry honorable chairman mortgagees the meager remnants of council funds to the electronic and print media to enhance his noisy vulgarity. Inundate him with chieftaincy titles and see how vain he is.
Go to the local government council to pay any fee and discover that government receipts are not available. Revenue generation is utterly neglected unless it is geared towards enriching the collector.
The concept of local governed have become a misnomer, phantons and painted sepulchers where state legislators are known to collect their own share of the funds from the Local Government they represent in addition to their entitlements. Local government councils have symbolized a catena of failed expectations as ghost civil servants in some local government from where they collect monthly allowances. Every incoming administration makes frantic efforts to engage revolving ghost workers to give sense of belonging to relations irrespective of establishment procedures not adhered to. This shame goes on ad-infinitum.
Environmental sanitation and disposal of refuse have defied solution and beyond the competence of chairman in urban areas because the fat allocations have made them so intellectually morbid that they chose to hide under the cover of state governments.
People’s money are store away by political office holders for more political exploit in futures. The local government are nor left out in such guests instead of serving the masses. There is therefore need for a new paradym shift. Mature and seasoned individuals with clean public service records should serve as chairmen and councilors of local government to render selfless service to the people, instead of traders and baby aspirants fresh from school.
These should not be imposed on the people under any guise as they easily fail prey to praise singers, deceptive bill boards and assaults. We need chairmen and councilors who know their bearing and commitment t to the people not protégés of God fathers and glorified chief clerks put up for window dressing as executive chairmen. The sole administrator or whatever name they may be called as occasion and circumstance demand should settle down to work according to the dictates of law. They should not be cajoled into feeling that they are better as round pegs in round holes or more qualified than those not appointment. They should realize that their appointment is an opportunity to render selfless service, to the people instead of those responsible for their appointment under the guise of Nigerian factor.
On a more serious note, the Community Development Initiative should be seen as s revolutionary departure from the statuesque. It is aimed correcting the debilitating endemic wrongs of the past, provided the operators will not betray the trust like lions in sheep clothing. It should be endorsed and supported by all for introducing grassroot participatory democracy in practical terms. If the local government system is to serve its purpose in this country instead of being waste pipes