Key questions this article answers:
All politics is local, but state governments often withhold local government funds, forcing grassroots governance to suffer. Will granting local government council officials full control over their revenue allocation by the government solve the problem of bad governance at the community level?
Nigeria's local governments need the state government's house of assemblies to ratify a bill that relinquishes state control over LG funds. But was this bill a silver bullet for better governance at the grassroots?
Who is responsible for the state of Nigeria’s porous address system that makes sending stuff across the country so difficult? Or the lack of street lights that partly worsens crimes due to incessant darkness? Or waste disposal in your community?
I am sure my article’s title already gives away the answer, but what would you have said if I had asked you the above questions moments before you opened this link? Thumbs up if you already knew your local government (LG) representatives should provide these basic services to improve your life. Other local government responsibilities laid out in the constitution, which we often attribute to the powers at the top (state or federal), are registering births and deaths, maintaining motor parks and so on.
However, one reason why tasks like these have remained undone is that they need huge amounts of money that local governments don’t have access to. This is despite the 20% allocation of all the money in the federation account to local governments.
During a televised broadcast, the country’s chief commander (apologies to Ebenezer Obey) said a bit about the lack of access to funds a month ago. According to President Buhari, corrupt state governors who collect funds on behalf of local government officials remit only half of the money collected to them. Local government employees have also accused state governors of misappropriating funds collected on their behalf from the federation account and, in some cases, stealing the funds meant for the local government.
The situation above has led to calls for local government autonomy, which means that the local government authorities no longer want to be at the mercy of state governments