The lamentation by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo that Local governments in the country now function as mere administrative extensions of state governments comes as no surprise to many Nigerians who over the years have watched with dismay the way and manner state governors (past and present) have bastardised the nation’s third tier of government.
Osinbajo made the lamentation recently in his speech at the opening of the two-day national workshop on local government development in Jos, the Plateau State capital, noting that the result was the primary responsibility of the councils to transform the lives of the people at the grassroots had been lost.
The vice president, who was represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary in charge of Career Management Office of the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation (OFHOSF), Mr. Emmanuel Ogbonnaya, regretted that the third tier of government had abandoned its primary responsibility of promoting greater efficiency in the provision of services to transform the lives of the people at the grassroots.
Osinbajo added that the local councils, by this development, have become completely corrupt, undisciplined and inefficient in what has now been projected as a weak model for governance, saying “this has become a source of grave concern to this government.”
The Vice President’s lamentation is clearly an indictment on state governors (past and present) and heightens the urgent need for amendment of the constitution with a view to wresting the councils from the stranglehold of state governors.
Until there is a review of the constitution denying state governors powers to tamper with funds accruing to the councils, dissolving democratically elected officials and replacing them with caretaker committees among others, the councils are likely to continue to function as mere appendages of the governors, thus defeating the goal for which the councils were set up to attain.