The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) believes that until local government councils in Nigeria enjoy full autonomy, the country’s democracy would remain incomplete.
It is disheartening to note that for almost nineteen years of the nation’s democracy the third tier of government has continued to oscillate as grassroots government it was meant to be and the appendage of state government houses, which state governors have turned it into.
We the Nigerian students have after an extensive review of the lot of local government councils, decided to throw our weight behind calls for full autonomy of the councils so that it could bring about the much needed inclusion of the rural dwellers.
Furthermore NANS is of the opinion that the grass roots governance that local government councils provide gives the masses a sense of belonging and platform to ventilate their aspirations for good governance and easy access to government.
More than anything else, an autonomous local government system would enable young people to participate in governance and thereby use their knowledge and energy to provide leadership and cater for the rural population, particularly the nation’s senior citizens.
It is our considered view that the various forms of electoral misbehavior, including ballot box snatching, thuggery, violence and impersonation which goes on in the country could be traced to dispossession and displacement of young people from local government administration where they ought gain leadership experience and exposure.
Career wise, local government employees have been given false orientation by politicians which not only bastardized the local government system, but also engage the local government employees for corrupt purposes and partisan sabotage of the normal functions of the organogram of the system.
Again, being closer to the grass roots, local employees are better placed to interface with the people and generate revenue for the council, through radio licenses, market stalls rent, produce levies and other sources of funding for the local government administration.
Maintenance of rural infrastructure and construction of social amenities have not been what they used to be because of the confused state of affairs at the local government councils. This is a compelling reason why we insist on local government autonomy to fill the missing gaps in our democratic architecture.
Comrade Chinonso Obasi GCNS
National President, NANS