Nigerians have been urged to kick against the situation where Caretaker Committee Chairmen were being arbitrarily appointed by State Governors to run Local Government Councils in Nigeria in the stead of elected local Government chairmen, to the detriment of the citizenry.
The Director of Research, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru-Jos, Plateau State, Professor Olu Obafemi, who stated this as Chairman of the Technical Session at the National Workshop on Culture in the Transformation Agenda, organized by National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), in collaboration with Leading Edge, Academy, noted that such interim Chairman would end up being stooges to the State Chief Executives.
Prof. Obafemi said: “I must say that I appreciate the innovativeness Dr. Ayakoroma is bringing to culture in Nigeria through NICO. Last time, there was a programme where Traditional Rulers in Nigeria were summoned to look at culture and how to effect peace in Nigeria. Today, the Local Government Commissioners and Chairmen in Nigeria are brought for cultural purpose. We can see that the papers from the Resource Persons are canvassing for autonomy for Local Government Councils, that giving the Local Government Areas in Nigeria freedom to operate their funds instead of being tied to the apron string of the State Governments and the Governors. I am happy the Honourable Minister said there is a move for Local Government Council autonomy in which a bill has been to the National Assembly, requesting Lawmakers to stop the Joint State/Local Government Account. There is no doubt that this move by President Goodluck Jonathan would grant the councils financial autonomy, which would foster transparency, accountability and good governance.”
Continuing, he said: “I believe that Nigerians should kick against this issue of appointing Caretaker Committee Chairmen. Most times, the State Governors handpick those that will be doing their biddings. They are stooges to the Governors. It is unfortunate, as Maj. Gen. Efeovbokhan’ s paper observed, that out of 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, 521 have appointed Caretaker Committee Chairmen and only 253 are elected. Nigerians should insist that Local Government Council Chairmen should be elected. That is only when they can be accountable to the people.”
Four papers were presented and discussed at the Technical Session: “Constitutional Democracy and the Local Government System in Nigeria: an Overview,” by Professor Steve Nkom; “Cultural Resources Management in a Developing Economy: New Trends and Strategies,” by Dalhatu Idris, esq.; “Community Relations and Local Government Administration: Strategies for Development,” by Dr. Sola Fosudo; and “Good Governance in the Local Government System: A Panacea for Peace and Security,” by Maj. Gen. Mathias Efeovbokhan (rtd).