Creation Of Additional Districts, Village Areas Nasarawa: An Imprudent Idea?

By Yusufu Shehu USMAN,mni

The Nasarawa State govt has set up a Committee on the creation of additional districts and village areas in the State

I am just wondering how or if an additional structure and a bloated bureaucracy will translate into an improvement in the socio- economic transformation of the lives of the people in the additional districts and village areas sought to be created by the government, at this time when resources available to the government for development are under severe stress

Apart from the constitutionally recognised thirteen local government Areas, previous administrations in the State have overtime, created a number of “Development Areas” to compliment, duplicate or complicate the structure and management of local councils in the State

This did not come without heavy financial and administrative side effects that have weakened or at any rate, put a heavy burden on the operations of the constitutionally established local government

For one thing, the development areas replicated all the administrative structures of the mother local governments in terms of up graded traditional rulers and a retinue of local government staff to mention just a few

This bloated structure consumes so much of the financial allocations of the local government by way of recurrent expenditure, leaving very little (if at all) for capital projects from which the people are expected to benefit as the dividends of democracy

It is to be further noted that no State in the federation enjoys additional or special allocation from the FAAC allocation at the Federal level, by reason of additional appendages it created for its self as development Areas attached to the constitutionally recognised local government areas

Therefore, the development areas and the intended additional village areas to be created will still be funded from the allocations of the local government areas they are created from

If we create more districts and village areas, there will be more District, Village Heads and support administrative staff and structures to be funded from the allocations of the mother local government councils

It will be imperative to analyse the ratio or quantum of funds needed to run the expanded or mini local government structures to be foisted on the already existing development areas vis a vis the total monthly revenue allocation accruable to the mother local government, which acts as a forster parent to the additional Districts and village areas to be created, if the Committee recommends and the government approves the creation of more District and Village areas across the State

It must be stated that even the parent local government councils are very weak in revenue base to support their current operations and it is only natural to expect the new district and village areas to be weaker in terms of internal revenue generation

What this will eventually translate into is, the Local governments, Development areas, District and village areas will experience stunted growth and negative development, due to pausity of funds

And should the government create additional District and village areas at this time of critical scarcity of funds, the greatest chunk of the local government finances will be deployed into the payment of salaries and allowances of the traditional institutions, leaving next to nothing for the provision of the much needed social amenities that should impact positively on the lives of the majority of the people

In my honest opinion, what the people of Nasarawa need at this moment, is not additional district and village areas. We have enough of them

In any case, it will not add to or alter the physical composition or land mass of these Districts or village areas.

Rather what it will do, will be to put additional stress and strains on the meagre resources of the local government councils to carter for unnecessary additional administrative structures to the detriment of the majority of the people in the affected areas

My advice is that there is absolutely no urgency of need for the creation of additional district and village areas at this point in time, except if it is driven by political exigency aimed at achieving a political goal ahead of the 2023 elections

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