LG Autonomy: How To Make It Work For The Benefit Of All

By Yusufu Shehu Usman

With the recent financial autonomy granted to the Local govts, there is an urgent need for guidance to them on financial management and control of public resources
For a part of government that has suffered deprivation and for decades relegated to a mere salary paying institution (that is where it was even possible to pay the salaries) the local government management may no doubt have lost the required expertise in handling millions of Naira on a monthly basis
They must also have forgotten how public projects are conceived, managed and executed
All these would by now have been deleted from their institutional memories due to decades of neglect and virtual inactivity
With the restoration of their financial autonomy by the current government of President Buhari which heralds the disbursement of millions of Naira directly into their individual accounts, I believe that it is necessary for all the local governments in the country to be trained by experts and experienced hands on the prudent management of public resources and on the level of probity and accountability required of them under the new dispensation
The managements and other policy makers at the local government level certainly need to be trained and retrained on financial regulations and accountability as it relates to the control and management of public funds
They need training workshops and on hand training by relevant and reputable institutions to enable them discharge their responsibilities to the people in strict compliance with extant laws, procedures and regulations guiding the operations of government
I recommend that this task should be assigned to three institutions with the necessary expertise, resource persons and experience on such important training
I have in mind, the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) the Public Service Institute (PSI) and the National Institute for policy and strategic studies (NIPPS)
These three are the foremost institutions which are richly blessed with the required resource persons and materials on Local government administration and they have proved their mettle over decades of meritorious service to the public service of Nigeria
We need the local governments as the grass root government that touches the masses directly, to function optimally, professionally and with integrity and probity to compliment the State and Federal governments in the delivery of the dividends of democracy to the people

OBJ Worth An Open Letter Too

It is inexplicable why OBJ who seems to love Nigerians more than they love themselves, has not written a letter open, closed, public or private on the power situation in the country
I reckon that power security is equally as important as citizen safety and food security
For years and through successive governments including the two terms OBJ spent on the saddle of leadership, Nigerians have continued to groan under the crushing effect of lack of power and energy. It has contributed in no small measure to our stunted economic growth just as it has banished small and medium industries and our personal comfort as citizens of the federal republic of Nigeria.
Does our former President believe that we are self sufficient in power and energy?
The nation has spent and is still spending billions of dollars on several power projects without any appreciable results
I think it is time we tackled the three security monsters confronting us frontally and decisively. Together, the maladies of food insecurity, personal insecurity and power insecurity have constituted themselves into a triumvirate of evil threatening our very existence as a nation
I recommend that we institute a high powered probe to unearth the causes of these collective insecurity and not only apportion blame where it belongs but also bring to book any institution or individuals found complicit in foisting these heinous situations on all of us. OBJ was right after all for calling on inquest into the spate of incessant insecurity pervading the nation. I agree completely with his suggestion and add that the time to do that, is NOW.

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