By Chigozie Uzosike
The leading Imo State Labour Party Gubernatorial Aspirant, Maj. Gen. Lincoln Jack Ogunewe (Rtd) has called on State governors not to kill the local government as there lies the first tier of security architecture to check insecurity and bring development to the grassroot.
Speaking to newsmen in Owerri, Ogunewe noted that the rising state of insecurity in almost all the States of the federation is worrisome and requires concerted, coordinated and everybody’s participation and contribution. He said that fighting insecurity needs everyone on board, adding that the “everybody” is in abundance and dispersed in the LGAs and not in the cities. ‘This “everybody” looks up to their closest government which is at the LGAs for solution to their myriad of needs and problems. Failure of the LGAs to meet these expectations has created a state of despondency, poverty, unemployment and revolts leading to the insecurity that were hitherto unknown in the LGAs.
The renowned security expert hinted that nothing seems to be working at the LGAs be it healthcare, education, public facilities, utilities, infrastructure and security, stressing that the Secretariat of most LGA Headquarters are in serious state of disrepair and dysfunctional unlike what it used to be in the past. ‘I recall with nostalgia how effective the then Divisional Headquarters seamlessly functioned and provided services to the grassroots. I recall with nostalgia when these Divisions transitioned to Local Government Areas which was created to bring governance closer to the grassroots. The LGAs were equipped and provided effective services like road maintenance, effective security, employment and good communal relationships’.
Hear him, today, the LGAs are a shadow of themselves, gagged, controlled and rendered powerless. In my personal assessment, the LGAs can best be described as docile because of lack of autonomy. The LGA autonomy is being resisted from a quarter that is supposed to support its autonomy, that is the State Governors. Some have dragged the State Houses of Assembly into this matter. Is this for altruistic reason or personal interest overriding the people’s interest? He questioned.
He commented that in governance, the supreme interests should be that of the people and not of governors, adding that the complete restoration of autonomy to LGA administration will make it effective in delivering the dividends of democracy to the grassroots which include security and self sustaining. He said that “the people are more known and can be better managed at the communities and LGAs and not at State Government Houses. The people more or less are prone to listen to their community leaders and LGA administrators. The constitution has defined government at the Federal, State and LGA with each complementing one another”.