CONFRONTING THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Can this nation be anchored on
Executive Governor, Enugu
August 5 2003
Dedicated to Rural Nigerians
Upon my belief
that the substantive structure of this era of democracy will be anchored on
debate and dialogue, I rejoice with all of you in this hall that we are indeed
exploiting some of the best of opportunities at extending the frontiers of our
national promises through broad based discourses.
It has never dawned on us
that avenues indeed abound for us to take on any issue of national
co-habitation, cohesion and fundamental state objectives so boldly as we have
done in this season until we found ourselves free to discuss and tackle whatever
comes our way.
I am not just overwhelmed
that I am again being involved in finding a reasonable path to the journey of
the nation-state but also that the occasion has drawn so much a stir from many
of you who found time to be here.
By this, I want to
reassure you that we have all together embarked on this trip of proper national
reconfiguration with the sole aim of finding the best for this nation of
profoundly great promises.
Perhaps, the greatest
thanks must go to the conveners of this lecture: the Basic Society Initiative
and TLC Communications Ltd for the resources and time to build this forum and
for the main purpose of elaborating on the need for popular participation in
Indeed, there is this
compelling necessity to raise questions about the proper impact of governance on
the people - the real people - not those who already have developed unquenchable
thirst for the good things of life.
However, whenever we have
to take up the questions relating to these, we must take the bold step at
defining the proper gauge to ensure that what we seek are not what may be
distilled and released by the same elite but what, for the ordinary folk, who
constitute the basic society, had really impeded their access to national
Somehow, it may not be too
easy to determine what might be universally termed the basic society in Nigeria.
But I take off on the pedestal on which the federal government of Nigeria now
indicated interest in overhauling the local government system.
I do this bearing in mind
that we have, over the years, lived with this perception that the route to the
basic people or the common folk is through a kind of replication of the federal
and state administrations in the rural areas.
In the first instance, it
may be gainful for us to establish the basis of the discussion we have embarked
upon so as to appreciate the magnitude of the challenges that lie ahead. The
1999 constitution, Section 7, read jointly with section 8, provides that there
the system of local
government by democratically elected councils(which) is by this constitution
guaranteed; and accordingly, the government of every state shall, subject to
section 8 of this constitution, ensure their existence under a law which
provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of
Section 7(5) goes further to
provide for the functions of the local government council in Section One,
Schedule Four of the constitution, as follows:
1. (a) the consideration and making of recommendations to a state commission on
economic planning or any similar body on:
(i) the economic development of the state, particularly in so far as the areas
of authority of the council and of the State are affected, and
(ii) proposals made by the said commission or body
(b) collection of rates, radio and television licences;
(c) establishment and
maintenance of cemeteries, burial grounds and homes for the destitute and the
(d) licensing of bicycles, trucks (other than mechanically propelled trucks),
canoes, wheel barrows and carts;
(e) establishment, maintenance and regulation of slaughter houses, slaughter
slabs, markets, motor parks and public conveniences;
(f) construction and maintenance of roads, streets, street lightings, drains,
and other public highways, parks, gardens, open spaces, or such public
facilities as may be prescribed from time to time by the House of Assembly of a
(g) naming of roads and streets and numbering of houses;
(h) provision and maintenance of public conveniences, sewage and refuse
(i) registration of all births, deaths and marriages;
(j) assessment of privately owned houses or tenements for the purpose of levying
such rates as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly of a state; and
(k) control and regulation of -
i) outdoor advertising and hoarding,
ii) movement and keeping of pets of all description,
iii) shops and kiosks,
iv) restaurants, bakeries and other places for sale of food to the public,
v) laundries, and
vi) licensing, regulation and control of the sale of liquor.
Under the same Fourth
Schedule, the Constitution also provides for "The functions of the local
government council" to also "include participation of such council in Government
of a State as in respect of the following matters:
(a) the provision and maintenance of primary, adult and vocational education,
(b) the development of agriculture and natural resources, other than the
exploitation of minerals,
(c) the provision and maintenance of health services; and
(d) such other services as may be conferred on a local government council by the
House of Assembly of the State.(pp. 150-151)
Also, Section 8 (3)
provides the modalities for the creation of new local government areas and
indeed vests the power to so do in various States' Houses of Assembly after
which they will be referred, under Section 8 (6) to each of the Chambers of the
National Assembly, perhaps for necessary deliberation and or ratification.
In fact, if we take a few
steps backward in the review of the constitution, we will be confronted with the
reality that Section 3 of the First Schedule (pp. 125-128) specifically creates
a total of 774 local government areas in Nigeria.
I have taken this long
road to peep further into the underlying principles, which formed the basis for
the current local government system. I also deliberately pursued a full listing
of the functions so as to have much to juxtapose with what I have been made to
believe are the basic principles of the major sponsoring group, the Basic
Society Initiative (BSI).
Yet, I think it is
imperative that we review a few of the colonial trends, which formed the basis
for the kind of local government system, which we finally adopted in 1976.
Initially, there was this colonial pessimism, which was related in 1929 by a
certain William R. Crocker, British Colonial Officer, on the overwhelmed by the
seeming diversity of Nigeria and the tendency to further stay apart rather than
converge, he declared: "if you walk along a straight line merely a hundred miles
or so…you traverse peoples and cultures, which for all their similarities,
scarcely touch on a single point down at bottom." These, then, ran against the
reality of his then Europe where he claimed that "…you find amidst all the
diversities, the common stamp of Greco-Roman civilization and Christianity."
Of course, it is not for
me to contend with Crocker's contention that Africa and in this case, the
pre-colonial Nigeria, never had such homogeneity of feeling upon what States in
Europe and the Asiatic groups had, such as the influence extending over
centuries of common beliefs and loyalties.
Certainly, working against one centralized system of local administration in the
colonial Nigeria, particularly the drive at having one single indirect rule
system, Crocker struck home as a visionary and a man of courage where his
colleagues in the colonial regime pursued a total suzerainty based on the
scenario of conquest.
The veracity or otherwise
of Crocker's position is not really the thrust of this argument. Prior to this
stand, Lord Fredrick Lugard who tried to situate the development tempo and
divergence of Nigeria, before his final exit in 1919, submitted "that the policy
of Northern Nigeria might be
described as native policy
whose aim was primarily administrative while that of Southern Nigeria was
commercial and directed primarily to the development of natural resources and
My argument has nothing to
do with whether these administrators were right or wrong. My concern is not even
to underline their thought pattern but to establish the frame upon which some
kind of class struggles ensued and so occasioned the loud calls for reform. Note
here that the call for reform may have been engendered or fostered by a previous
interest in questioning the old order, anyhow.
Assuming that the few
educated Africans or just the agitated ones caught the drift of the colonial
masters, they failed to appreciate the depth of Lugard's argument in favour of
uniform development via uniform local administration system across the country.
This, indeed, by the standards he set, had to run in conformity with the
colonial overlords' principles of preserving the status quo of the Northern
Perhaps, for our
sentimental opposition to the perceived Northern elite viewed in the prism of
modern development as representing stagnation, it did not take long to induce
the kind of class struggles which became pronounced and rancorous and finally
led to the military abolition of the local administration system for a frightful
unification, via Decree No. 34 of 1966.
Till date, it remains a
potent argument that had Lugard acceded to the reality of diversity which indeed
offered him the best opportunity of taking what Nigeria of his days had to
offer, he would have, most likely, achieved a form of healthy convergence for
which he would stand on a firmer point of history.
Somehow, it appears that
Lugard was obdurate not on account of superior argument but certainly on the
mindset of his co-travellers in the colonial enterprise. This seems more so if
you consider the vast efforts made by those who set the colonial agenda to
distort the political, social and economic configuration of the Igbo areas and
their neighbours in the old East.
It was horrifying as it
was dubious for Lugard and his quasi intellectuals to seek to portray the Aros
as coming of a different and superior ethnic stock so as to confirm their
imagination of a super race capable of offering the kind of feudal, aristocratic
leadership, as the Fulanis in the old North.
Of course, we cannot
forget that we did holler at Lugard, erstwhile archetypal conservative overlord
who railroaded the indirect rule system in a sweeping form across Nigeria. We
did hold the view that this was a man who never saw any reason for the diversity
of Nigeria and had gone ahead to ram in his single policy on all without a
thought for any section other than the North.
But somehow, there was
always this feeling that Lugard, for all he stood for, did acknowledge Nigeria's
plurality but had pretended not to, because it was easier for him to rule as a
military officer thundering across the plain to the immediate response of
Well, for now, we may have
to leave Lugard and his think-alikes and consider the issues inherent in the
practice in their days. First, it was clear that these imperialists appreciated
some indigenous native administration patterns on arrival. They acknowledged the
efficient emirate system, feudal, as it may have looked, in the North; the
somewhat constitutional monarchy in the West and a high level of
republican/consensus pattern, seemingly anarchic, in the East.
Second, it was clear that
they had marvelled at the challenges of running the multiplicity of patterns as
required to have these peoples run systems peculiar to them. With the benefit of
hindsight, we can attest to the fact today that this laxity of colonial
administration set the stage for the imperfections of unitarism and the
attendant manipulation of the national system to pervert the entire values for
the benefit of the Centre.
Indeed, I am not here to
argue this matter about the merit or otherwise of a unitary political culture,
as much as I remain mindful of the fact that we have elected to pursue, by the
reality of reflections, true democratic federalism as our own form of political
But what I have to point out here is that on the strength of colonial
recommendation, the pressure to chisel Nigeria into a singular political
tradition did not receive as much creative questioning as depicted in the
liberation struggles, which were merely hinged on interest for self-government.
That result, therefore, could not actualize on the optimism for the eventual
transformation into a nation-state.
Strangely too, the new
Nigerian elite whose duty it was to raise questions may have been blinded by
their dire need to erode the powers of some primordial clans and cleavages
instead of reckoning with the admonition of Sir Hugh Clifford who declared on
arrival in Nigeria in 1919 that if the various ethnic communities were welded
"…into one single homogenous nation…a deadly blow
would thereby be struck at
the very root of national self government in Nigeria which secures for each
separate people the right to maintain its identity, its individuality and its
nationality, its own chosen form of government and the peculiar political and
social institutions which have been evolved for it by the wisdom and by the
accumulated experience of generations of its forebears."
Although researchers such as I. F. Nicholson, who studied administration in
colonial Nigeria, expressed surprise at the outburst of Clifford, the popular
trend indicated that the colonial officer was primarily rooting for a
well-formed nation state whose strength in true diversity would have been
exploited for the fuller advancement of the nation. To that effect, Clifford's
logic appeared to have tilted in favour of a recognition of such variety which
would encourage people to hold on to distinctly definable identity, personality
or individuality; chosen form of government, peculiar socio-political
institutions and pace of economic, as well as social development, as may have
been perfected in history.
Although his more global
pattern tended towards a unitary political culture, Sir Arthur Richards appeared
to have tilted towards appreciating the distinctive locality view in his pursuit
of provincial governments alongside regional structure.
The clearest indication of
this was the resolution of the Residents (administrative heads) of Provinces'
Conference, which recommended that the native institutions, which aided the
operation of the Indirect Rule in the North, be developed to fit into the
evolving modern political system. To that effect, development of the District
and Native Councils was highly recommended and pursued with such result that a
Chief-in-Council recognized the Governor or Resident as supervising authority
while the Chief-and-Council operated a slightly tilted administration of peers.
In recognition of wider political participation and possibilities for
co(n)federation of political and economic agenda, the Federated Native Authority
system evolved in some areas, re-enforcing the argument of genuine cohesion
forming on familiar tradition and sensibilities.
The trend it took in the
West, East and later Mid West was to reinforce the diversity of Nigeria along
the tide of Districts, County and Local Councils. Although leaders at a stage
got mixed up in the number of tiers they operated, what was the drive was to
pursue development mainly in recognition of the varieties and peculiarities.
Somehow, this remained the
rule till the arrival of the military, which, owing to its lack of patience and
the creative will to hold on to some truly diverse peoples, preferred to unify
Nigeria, her peoples, resources and even native institutions, in 1966 and
I am aware that some
Nigerians had hollered that the unification, even though it was derided in some
quarters, was meant to serve the economic interests of a section of Nigeria. But
one reality has been that it just served the arbitrary formation of the
military, from regime to regime. At the national level, it virtually eclipsed
the nations and indeed the various tiers of government and placed all in a
certain inequitable political condition which tightened the grip of what may be
called the supra-national state on the fragile frame of the component units.
Naturally, this had to dovetail into the local government reformation, which, in
its form and content, was a kind of sweeping unification and unitarist
positioning for the benefit of the central government.
We shall return to that,
later in this talk. Now, having come of this political antecedent and having
established the indisputable diversity of Nigeria right from inception, we may
proceed to establish the trend of argument, which I have decided to associate
with in the ensuing discourse.
To me, the true direction
of the discourse on reformation of the local administration system may begin to
earn a bearing if we establish the true compass set by the Federal Government
for the entire exercise.
Precisely, His Excellency,
Mr. President, declared the following as the terms of reference for the
committee set for the carriage of this task:
1. To examine the problem
of inefficiency and high cost of governance with a view to reducing costs and
wastage at the third tier (system) of government.
2. To review the performance of local councils within the last four years and
consider the desirability or otherwise of retaining them as the third tier of
government and in that regard; and,
3. To consider among (other) options, the adoption of a modified version of the
pre-1976 local government system.
To me again, these are clear terms, which could not have been so boldly spelt
out if the government is not strongly interested in proper and total
democratization as may or may not have been engendered by the current
locality-administration and development system. They were also pointers to the
truth of apprehension of higher authorities with possible erosion of confidence
of the people on governance and persons in authority.
Indeed, attendant upon the
historical reality of class struggles, which erroneously induced the clamour for
the pre-May, 1966 actions, consequences of which were the relevant elements of
the unification policy of the Aguiyi Ironsi government, the attitude of
government from the inception of colonialism till date has been one of
bewilderment and rigmarole.
Of course, it served the
general will that in the 1976 reforms, certain kernels of popular political
participation were identified and exploited to some reasonable values. Yet, at
the same time, the attempt at hastily carving out distinct clusters of polity
(autonomous local governments within states but responsible to the federal
government) did leave in their wake such political incongruity and sour taste,
which only reaffirmed and consolidated the dreaded unitary system as against the
craved true federal arrangement.
Gentlemen, I seek not to
be misunderstood here as, perhaps, pursuing the argument that the system never
set out with the proper principles for the elevation of the societies. No, it
did set out with the sole aim of reaching the best if only in these
well-intended reforms, the motives were stated thus:
1. To make appropriate
services and development activities responsive to local wishes and initiatives
by devolving or deregulating them to local representative bodies,
2. To facilitate the exercise of democratic self-government close to the local
levels and to encourage initiative and leadership potentials,
3. To mobilize human and material resources through the involvement of members
of the public in their local development; and,
4. To provide a two-way channel of communications between local communities and
There is no contesting the
fact that these were noble principles which true carriage would have placed the
polity on a higher pedestal.
However, the rule appeared
to have left a gap for the final definition of such reforms, as headship and
administration invariably got sucked into the political whirlwind occasioned by
the endless agitations for more local government areas and more powers thereto.
Somehow, the military
government of General Ibrahim Babangida attempted some answers and in this case,
went the whole hog in defining the local government as completely distinct and
responsible to only the Centre. With executive powers to boot, the local
government chairmen who had in addition, elected councilors as legislators, had
the system enmeshed in interlocking political centers, which were (and still
remain) in competition and contention for power with the states.
To a very large extent,
the military governments, which pursued such polity, could not have acted in bad
faith. Indeed, they acted in their tradition, which is purely unitary. Though we
resented this, it gave vent to their tradition of total command and control for
which every corner could not be remote and unconnected with the headquarters.
Understandably, theirs was like the scenario of the towering army general whose
outposts are never completely ceded to the middle commanders, no matter the
competence and resourcefulness of such subordinate officers.
But while we admire the
brilliance and sheer capabilities of top army commanders, particularly those
who, in history, mustered such strength and creativity in running vast
territories, even in that unitary system, we cannot ignore their subtle
acceptance of the facts that such would not work in real political organization
as most of the men thrown up to do the duties were either removed from the
realities of the local environment or hamstrung by other inherent factors.
In our case in recent
history, the military had to evolve such vast programmes as the Directorate for
Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI), Better Life for Rural Women,
Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP), National Agricultural Land
Development Agency (NALDA), National Accelerated Industrial Crop Production
Programme (NAICPP), National Agricultural and Co-operative Bank (NACB) and many
others, to give vent and energy to the business of carrying modern economic
trend and true governance into the local areas. I do not know whether these were
a supposition of the supra-national psyche of the military but, in a way, it did
confirm the arbitrary culture argument as these programmes clearly eroded the
duties of the local administration arrangement.
Whichever way, this does
not sweep away the truth that whether it negated the plurality of the local
administration system or reinforced the need for the pretension of unitarism in
our system, such had not overthrown the facts that the muscles of the Centre or
in some cases, the state governments, had been deliberately conditioned to
embark on such giant strides while the preponderance of local council operations
had merely pretended, without success, to create miniature centers of effective
political and economic activities .
Prior to this era, in the
Northern Region, the local administration pattern, as already observed, was more
administrative and could not have bothered to venture into complex economic
programmes, which required vast resources. Indeed, the Emirs, whose political
suzerainties were established before British conquest, had their local
administration tailored to suit the interests of the leading local figures and
never for the liberalization of political feelings and leadership. And since the
local people who were held in this pattern were barely subsistent, the taxes
exerted on them were never without strong grudges and a handful of skirmishes.
But having mastered this
pattern, the officials of the native authorities, punitive in style and swift in
their reaches, were able to establish fat purses for the respective Emirate
Councils. To some extent, it was believed that, placed side by side with
government grants, the latter paled into insignificance even as the former came
of arbitrary administration of justice and punitive economic exploitation.
There should be no
mistaking the fact that the colonial arrivals were equally arbitrary and
punitive and so, would not have invited the opinion of the native peoples in
designing the various administrations it practised. It was then not unusual that
it disregarded reality and popular view when it imposed this system of native
administration on Eastern Nigeria where, prior to colonial administration,
republicanism and consensus in communal actions constituted the socio-political
The explosion of the 1929
Aba Women Riots, consequent upon the attempt at extending the 1917-1918 Native
Authority Revenue Ordinance, perhaps was like the only strong indicator that the
colonial administration had missed the key points in appreciating local
knowledge, history and sensibilities. It was then not unexpected that despite
efforts at improving the revenue base of the native authorities in the East,
including the 1948 and 1950 local government reform laws, not much was achieved
as the people never took it lightly that they were arbitrarily excluded from the
decision making process.
Albeit, considering what
could be presented as the definitively formed colonial method attendant upon the
high quality of their officials, it was only strange that they had missed out
the reality of the republican and consensus culture of Ndigbo and other parts of
the East. To some extent, this had been blamed on the intolerant nature of
Lugard and the arrogance of the other colonial officers who initially thought
that in the ensuing Igbo political and social form, they were encountering
undiluted social chaos if not vulgar anarchy.
Still verging on arrogance
or ignorance, of the colonial masters, was the attempt made to appoint paramount
chiefs who were deftly tutored in the punitive application of government
machinery but who, even till date, in the case of their families, remained
enemies of the communities they oversaw.
It was not until the
introduction of the County, District and Local Council System in the reformation
laws of 1960 that full acceptance of divergence as well as the willingness to go
by a definable local administration was pursued with vigour in the East. In
fact, the explosion of demands for more Council underlined the people's
willingness to work out an administrative system, which played up their
republican-consensus political culture.
In the case of Western
Nigeria, the relative acceptance of a Northern kind of native administration
could not have been removed from the reality of the quasi-imperial formation as
represented in the traditional monarchy of the area.
However, it was not
difficult to ascertain that the monarchy of the West was never absolute as there
were in-built checks and balances which all qualified it as constitutional
monarchy. In that order, the local administration system which emerged, could
not have been punitive when there were local patterns of social and political
relations, which negated such absolutism. This, however, did not remove in
totality some rancour arising from the attitude of the colonial overlords who
rejected any form of consultation with the traditional, social and political
institutions of the time.
One immediate territorial
consequence of the emerging order was the virtual disintegration of the
pre-colonial territorial-integrity of the old Oyo and Benin Empires. Attendant
upon the pockets of reservations against the new local administrations' tax
regime, especially in Ikirun, Abeokuta, Asaba, Warri and Sapele, a
socio-political whirlwind had to sweep across in later years to oil the clamour
for more centers of political and social expression.
It must be noted, here,
that the rejection of the full frame of the indirect rule system in places as
Asaba and Aboh divisions in the then Western Nigeria could not have been
unexpected since the people were largely of the same republican and consensus
culture as their Igbo kinsmen of the East.
modifications and realignment of forces in favour of native values in the later
days of the region, interest and growth of local attachment began to grow. To
that effect, when the whistle sounded in 1952, especially with the new Regional
local government law, 12 divisional councils, 103 district councils and 1000
local councils were created in the West.
point in this seeming explosion of councils was the endless agitation for
effective coverage of the areas in question. I am sure that we have not missed
the order of progression in the inverted pyramid form to reach the very basic
society through the erection of what could be called one or more stages or tiers
In a way,
this has a striking resemblance to the later-day Eastern practice of
In all, one
clear point made was that whereas the Division was far-flung, even if not as
remote as the Regional Government, the District was still imperious,
conflict-ridden and corrosive in prime motive, for which it was strongly held
that it was not completely driven by the harmonious local sensibilities of those
whose meager resources and interests were at stake.
regard, there was then no doubt it became imperative that a nearer course be
reached for the full exploitation of the peoples' potentials, using their local
knowledge and led in the values of the visions of their forebears, even of
generations far gone.
course was what got consolidated in the (then) Eastern Region as the Local
(County) Council System. It was an administrative as well as political
development arrangement which drew, almost hundred percent, from a convergence
of homogenous local, peculiar attitude and temperament to achieve a cohesion of
the divergent, but objective public programmes. These rode the crest of familiar
or long cultivated team spirit and communal polling of resources for the
upliftment of the basic society or community in question. Rated then among the
other regions, Eastern Nigeria of the days before this system was the most
economically backward, which was blighted in terms of upgrading its human
resources. This, in a way, had heightened the wave of emigration from the areas
to other parts of Nigeria where they were hastily carved out as stranger
communities. Of particular problem to the region was how to raise revenue to
pursue its short and long-term developmental programmes. The dilemma was even
made more threatening with the reality of the people showing violent opposition
to the tax-drive policy of the Regional Authorities.
appeared handy and finally decisive was the County Council System, which the
Regional government cleverly pursued with vigour and raised the consciousness as
in a people who were (all) involved in the administration of the resources of
their communities, in response and contribution to the bigger Regional Economic
It caught on
like a wild fire and the whole East exploded in a vast ball of local counties,
each in stiff drive at measuring up to communally-assumed responsibilities and
challenges. The programmes they tackled ranged from community scholarship to
building of schools, hospitals, dispensaries, churches, bridges, roads and
culverts, community and social halls, rural electrification, boreholes and
community wells. At a rating of the social and economic development index of the
regions in the 1950s, it was established that the level of proper education
(i.e. full post primary schooling) per head was four of Easterners to 33 of
Westerners while three of the former were standing in for 17 of the latter in
As at the
time University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) took off as the first indigenous (full)
tertiary institution, its ratio of admission was 79 against the 234 of the
premier University College, Ibadan.
But in a seeming revolution brought about by the County Council System, the
entire trends were reversed with the East assuming phenomenal lead in the number
of students in both local and international institutions. By the grace of the
system, erstwhile sons of farmers, carpenters, bricklayers, even local
minstrels, who hardly subsisted, were enrolled in prestigious institutions due
to the communal pooling of resources to push those who revealed early sparks of
this, the rate of growth of student population in UNN even alarmed some
academics at University of Ibadan, so much that it was touted that the
institution must have lowered its standards to take in more students. It was not
long before it dawned on all that what happened was that virtually every of
about 1,100 communities, most of which graded as County or sub-County Councils
in the then Eastern Region, were fully driving at pooling resources to produce
at least one university graduate from either the indigenous university or a
European institution of higher learning.
dimension and eventual reach of the Local County Council did not stop at lifting
the East to the educational level of the West, it also gave birth to the surge
of basic social infrastructure such as dispensaries, more schools, rural
electrification, roads, bridges and culverts, among others, thereby providing
the reality of the profound development necessitating the 1964 international
comprehensive economic analysis which revealed that Eastern Regional economy,
the erstwhile drag, was the fastest growing, at a rate of 12 .7 per cent, in the
then Third World economy. It also had the highest concentration of high calibre
I am sure
that we cannot miss this point that this did not ride the temperament of
behemoth-like economic programme but a perfect subdivision or multiplication of
the roles in development in such a way that every person was identified and
indeed got involved in the micro socio-political and economic system at play, at
about the same time. For those of you in this hall who appreciated that
phenomenal leap by the East in so short a space, I suggest that you look back
with nostalgia and peep into the glorious era which assured the competitive edge
of the people in an unchained economic creative-energy scenario.
foregoing, gentlemen, I may have to crave your indulgence to look back at
institutional definitions of local government, vis-a-vis locality
administration. My principal aim in bringing about concepts or definitions at
this juncture is for us to capture the seeming universal motives in setting
local government or locality administrations.
In the words
of the United Nations Office of Public Administration, local government is "a
political subdivision of a nation or (in a federal system) state, which is
constituted by law and has substantial control of local affairs, including the
powers to impose taxes or to exact labour for prescribed purposes. The governing
body of such an entity is elected or otherwise locally selected."
(Cambridge, 1961: 11)
According to the Guideline
for A Reform of Local Government In Nigeria, (1976: 1), it is defined as the:
"Government at local level exercised through representative councils established
by law to exercise specific powers within defined areas. These powers should
give the Council substantial control over affairs as well as the staff and
institutional and financial powers to initiate and direct the provision of
services and to determine and implement projects so as to complement the
activities of the state and federal government in their areas and to ensure,
through devolution of functions to these Councils and through the active
participation of the peoples …that local initiative and response to local needs
and condition are
The then Chief of Staff,
Supreme Headquarters, Brigadier General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua who announced the
guidelines, declared that it was the view of government that "if stability at
the national level is to be guaranteed, a firm foundation for a rational
government at the local level is imperative…"
Extending this argument or
sentiment in favour of national stability, it was further canvassed that "it is
important to decentralize political power," because as felt in some quarters,
"the existence of local governments, whether they are constitutional creations
or created by states in pursuance of any state law, will enlarge the political
space and create alternative choice."
The immediate pursuit of
the protagonists was that "there must be enough space to absorb more competing
elite or politicians," because in their view, "when the choices are few,
excessive and suffocating competition could arise and the stability of the
nation would be impaired."
Well, ladies and gentlemen, it may have been deliberate on my part to delay
these institutional definitions and positions, but actually, I am only trying to
let you into the efforts
locality administration and development by merely creating further outposts of
power for more classes of the ruling elite. Frankly, if you permit a few words
of immodesty, I will declare that they merely begged the question by promoting a
slightly lower version of the pomp and panoply of the federal and state
governments in some subjectively determined local areas.
the underlining kernels to properly appreciate the values pursued are 'local',
'localities', 'administration and development', which are easily ascertained as
in Prof. Godwin Odenigwe's epic declaration that governance at the local level
should mean "communities and towns organized to maintain laws and order, provide
some limited range of social services and public amenities and encourage the
co-operation and participation of the inhabitants in joint endeavours towards
the improvement of their living." The seasoned scholar even avers further that
it must go with the duty of "providing the community with organizational
framework which enables such to conduct its affairs effectively and regulate the
actions of their members for the general good of the general public."
being saddled with the responsibilities of, or indeed pretensions to,
'government' as easily described in Higher Government Gazettes, it now becomes
difficult to ascertain the purposes for the efforts at railroading the pomp and
panoply or paraphernalia of the state or federal government to the localities.
These, we all know, will be confronted by the full weight of native
un-preparedness, deadweight of inertia and bureaucratic ineptitude, if placed
alongside complex enterprises of state economics and modern administration.
This goes to
mean that whereas the institutions, at definition, sought the establishment of
'governments' at the 'local' levels; the proper streamlining of the 'localities'
to fit into the designs was either muddled up or ignored for the impatience of
the powers that be. At the end of the day, what you have are mere super
administrative posts in "local" areas where the 'local sensibilities' of the
natives are hardly considered in matters deserving of their contribution and
crave your indulgence to advance further on this by returning to the basic
principles upon which our interest in, or practice of, local government was
built. It is necessary at this time to do this because I have still maintained
my argument that development, or if you like, economic progression, cannot be
the same, for now, with what obtains in the advanced world. Whereas it may be
the ultimate of interests for a local administration in the advanced world to
further the rights of expression for the individual, the matter here is squarely
effect, I want to remind you of one of the very strong arguments in favour of
local government in a democratic setting. It is the projection that because it
would be nearer the people, it would engender growth and development.
that it would operate on a familiar terrain with the local peoples applying
their local values in building for the future and blending the old patterns with
new values. Yet another is that as it involves a wide spread of peoples, it
would promote wider participation in democratic governance, the consequence of
which would be the training of future players, particularly legislators, for
roles in the more global democratic arena.
This is now
where we are bound to raise questions based on our own peculiar experiences. In
this regard, I am particularly interested in examining the strong positions
formed on the basis of ceding functions of State or Federal governments for the
ideas of a distinct (third) tier of government.
I will begin my approach to this from my interpretation of the scholarly works
of Jim Sharpe, in the elaborate critique of local government. He argues
that"…the value of local government as a bulwark of liberty, or at least a
handmaiden of democracy, has been recognized" as standing principally to
initiate the elements of the basic society into the dynamics of government, for
which the effort must be made to justify the vast confidence and quantum of
To me, Sharpe is not setting some parameters, which are distinct from the basic
principles and goals of establishing local governments as we have done in
Nigeria. He is, indeed, reinforcing the compulsion of performance as the proper
basis for sustenance of the argument of local government in a polity.
from the plank of popular political socialisation and governance, otherwise
called diffuse democratic participation, we shall come to appreciate this from
the standpoint of experience as well as immediate socio-political context.
regard, we are therefore compelled to consider the prevailing local government
system from the perspective of the administrative and development structures, in
the years after the 1976 reforms. It is on that plank that a certain question
becomes imperative: placed side by side with the objective of taking development
down to the localities, can it be argued that the elaborate duplication of
repetitive headquarters-bureaucracy actually presented the reality of governance
at the grassroots as may have been argued for by those who anchor their position
the repetitive headquarters- bureaucracy pattern present enough and realistic
forces to contend with local tradition, deadweight of social inertia and
tenacious conservatism of the local peoples? Third, does the multiplication of
civil servants and the attendant career advancement for many more, add up to
development and termination of the blight and squalor in the local areas?
Even if we
admit of these as problems surmountable by time and exploitation of the inherent
flexibilities of our various traditions, we may not stop at that. It is equally
compelling that we ascertain the motivation or lure to create immediate urban
centers - headquarter-bureaucracy - as measures of establishing local
administrations and good governance. Against the backdrop of blight, squalor and
disease in the rural Third World, could it be said that tangible development,
growth of wealth and happiness for the people would be defined as erecting
imperial edifices in hastily drawn settlements raised at local government
cannot offer the entire answers to these questions but I dare say that in
tackling some, I would have given you ample reasons to understand that, most
probably, we had embarked on electoral white elephants in the frenzy of local
government and the attendant pomp and panoply of repetitive
We may review
briefly the chief patterns of the emergence and or operations of existing local
governments. This normally starts with the agitation for self-determination and
eventual explosion of rancour and ill-feelings within an existing local
government area. Perhaps, on account of the presence of a kinsman, most likely a
top military brass in the corridors of power, the new local government is
created with two or more erstwhile co(n)federal clans.
comes with the elevation of some civil servants and a celebration of the
principal actors as the heroes of the time and the liberators of the areas. As
they swagger around as the custodians of this new governmental tier which they
never cease from declaring as a product of their political savvy, the coalition
of cross-clan feelings begin to wear away with one section emerging superior in
the political classification. Then, the agitation starts all over again, even as
the new government has expended vast resources at raising befitting headquarters
and a tied-in-the-knot bureaucracy.
Gentlemen, the issue here is not in any way a review of creation of local
government areas. It is rather the impact of each creation on the people, the
resources, the wrong priorities and eventually the localities. Each local
government authority embarks on elaborate, befitting local government
secretariat with the full compartmentalization of the ministries and departments
in what I call copy-the-State act. This follows with an elaborate drive at
building a quasi-urban centre around the local government secretariat, if only
to impress rapid growth, opulence and modernization, to dazzle the native folks
in the areas.
If at the end
of the day one or two of the co(n)federal clans - again, perhaps, by the grace
of a 'worthy son' in government - secures the same kind of self-determination,
the same round of activities at erecting a vast government secretariat and the
attendant anemic or even epileptic urban centers begins all over again.
there is this scholarly claim of "the man in the street" which negates the
belief that the common man would accept responsibility for any government or its
actions, no matter how close to the locality. If that is the case then, is it
not likely that the Nigerian scenario of elaboration and repetition of elite
structures - devoid of the interest and drive of the people - actually negates
the ultimate principles and motives of locality development?
regard, the ultimate rejection of the burden or responsibility by the 'man in
the street', appears justified in that what ought to be the policy or action in
delivering development to the localities just gets sucked into a whirlwind of
repetitive building of vast government secretariats and domineering
bureaucracies. With this as the case, we would be left with the pretension to
communal prestige upon the prevalence of huge secretariat buildings and
bureaucracies. With this constituting the white elephant syndrome, we provide
excuses for the elite who remain the stalwart beneficiaries of the rapid
turnover of the present character of the local government system.
on this is: are we not likely giving fillip to the smart manipulation of the
masses and poor civil servants with promises and impressions of hidden treasure
whose value and impact have hardly ever been ascertained in the long years of
consequent upon the vista of "jobs" promised in more centers of political power
(as the local governments), it is unlikely that the elite would ever leave any
stone unturned in the vast deception, which has perpetuated the wrong system.
And the more civil servants are promised rapid career advancement consequent
upon creation and perpetuation of local
the more popular and volatile the demand for more. The ordinary folk are made to
believe that it is all theirs if only the local council secretariats are located
closer to their areas.
Somehow, gentlemen, I feel obliged to let you know that I am fully conversant
with the claims, as well as the expression of passion, by our countrymen since
this interest at reforming was tabled by Mr. President. I am aware that some are
prepared to take it personal. Some have moaned that it signalled an end to the
livewire of their people while some, understandably, have thundered that the
current system could not be abolished or reformed because, in their estimation,
such would narrow the political terrain and stiffen the competition for power.
This, you can
guess, may have informed the recent litigation against the Federal Government by
some political parties and their coalition or allies, seeking an injunction
restraining government from carrying out reforms or appointing caretaker
committees. They are strongly rooting for the elections into the councils, right
away and as stipulated in the 1999 constitution. Of course, we cannot be
surprised at this development because these litigants are the beneficiaries of
the existing order where elections at the local government, ironically too, are
far stiffer and devoid of the anticipated gains of diffusing points for
response to this scenario of discomfort is that whereas some positions may have
been threatened because what they had perceived as the fishing ground for the
boys was going to be terminated or divested of the filth and waste which
characterized the present practice, they failed the historical facts relating to
genuine locality development and administration, particularly as practised for
the benefit of the masses.
official pre-democracy balkanization of Nigeria into 774 local governments,
looked like a genuine (though not helpful) intention at creating, even if in a
slightly reduced version, the vast bureaucracies of 36 states, in each of these
774 local government areas. Mind you, each of these council areas has, in turn,
the appurtenances of miniature but indeed assertive political power-bases,
which, to say the least, had set this prevailing tone for a rowdy administrative
environment which is akin to chaos.
baffles you, then you must consider the economic and infrastructure division
patterns, which had official functions and priorities, set in ways that
undermine the real capacity for delivering to localities. This has, to a very
large extent, confused the expectation framework of the common citizenry in that
the entire jigsaw, not so explicitly defined, always leaves Nigerians with no
clear idea of the schedules and responsibilities.
Let us take,
for instance, the graded road network in Nigeria and the compartmentalization of
the lists. By the Vision 2010 Report, it was revealed that there are 32, 000
kilometres of federal roads; 31, 000 kilometres of states' roads and over 132,
000 kilometres of recognized rural or local government roads.
words, the federal government has about 32, 000 kiolmetres of roads to run, each
state government, on the average, has 862 kilometres of roads while each of the
774 local governments will run and maintain an average of 1, 705 kilometres of
In the days
immediate to democratic transition in 1999, over 50 per cent of federal roads,
70 per cent of states' roads and 97.5 per cent of rural/local government roads,
were in unusable conditions.
I have heard
it argued that most of the local government roads were simple native track ways,
which needed only minimal resources to maintain. Some said that they were mainly
earth roads that needed periodic check on surges of erosion. But whichever way,
what difference does this make if we relate the matters of maintenance to
capabilities to management and the inclusion of the locality's sensibility?
interests me at this juncture is that whereas we have had a proliferation of the
local government areas, there appears to be a heightening failure of local
administration, which should bring about growth, in tandem with development and
social well being in the localities.
consider the report on poverty trend in Nigeria in the last four decades of
national life where the same situation of regression in the quality of life was
reported to have played out, almost without alteration, in every sector of the
a study of the poverty index in our era, the statistics shows that whereas 84
per cent of Nigerians were safely uplifted above poverty line in 1964, poverty
level rose from 28.1 per cent of the population in 1980 to 46.3 per cent in
1995. In 1996, it was statistically established that about 65.5 per cent of
Nigerians were below poverty line. Put the other way, over 67.1 million
Nigerians were gripped firmly by the severe hands of poverty.
I guess that
if you are shocked by this insight, you will now almost choke for the truth of
the similar report for the year/s 1999/2000 which pointed out that Nigeria had
so degenerated over the years even with the attendant proliferation of local
government secretariats and bureaucracies to the effect that 87 per cent of the
population or about 93 million citizens cannot make ends meet and are so
consigned to pains, lack, ignorance, degradation, neglect, squalor, disease and
possibly slow death, due to severe poverty.
cannot ignore the fact that we have so largely proliferated our bureaucracies
and government secretariats and mansions. We also built a welter of elevated
civil servants, not just at the state and local government levels, but also the
adjunct federal institutions designed to service the blossoming numbers of local
I have always asked is this: How much relevance is the vast bureaucracy and the
imperious local government headquarters building to the ordinary folk who may
never have entered the edifying structures and who will never get his being
enhanced or advanced from one stage upwards to another? Prior to this question,
anyway, I had raised the question on the credibility or relevance of local
governments created by distant state officials in Abuja or Lagos who may never
have had any real touch, let alone the understanding of the true sensibilities
of the people, in the first place.
If then we
have had so many local government areas with the attendant headquarters'
edifices and bureaucracies, shouldn't it worry us that poverty had widened its
grip, even as such led to the growth in number and elevation in ranks of civil
Should it not
be a matter for serious concern that when we talk about poverty alleviation, we
design seminars attended by professors, super journalists, permanent
secretaries, ministers, directors, wealthy local government chairmen and other
players in the heavy property class? Why is it that, attendant upon the
globalised interest in helping Africa out of abject poverty, the personnel of
the donor agencies build large bureaucracies, buy million-Naira jeeps and stay
in five star hotels?
also ask, why it is that rather than pursue locality advancement and
development, the local governments, as they were, have always pursued
urbanization of the spots where the headquarters are sited and would have none
of the immediate and long-term needs of the locality people mentioned for
lastly, why have the local sensibilities, locality prioritization and
advancement of the inherent values of cohabitation, been sidelined for so long,
even as we ought to see the entire enterprise in local government as the
springboard for the elevation of the localities?
I guess these
are not too distant and too knotty questions. They look more like reminders for
the erstwhile set objectives when juxtaposed with the prevailing practices. We
have set out on what I may call the inverted pyramid system of resource
allocation. Simply put, we reverse the stand of the pyramid so as to pump more
money in the already bloated areas of the state, ignoring the need to elevate
the basic society.
By this, I
hold my argument squarely in favour of such locality administration and
development, not necessarily bureaucratic but to bring growth in tandem with
development; simple but effectively diffuse, not confederation of clans but in
deep appreciation of cultural variations and or contiguity where necessary and
not a superimposition of an imperious state but duly strong to inspire
I argue in
favour of a really composite, diffuse system, not anything indifferent to
variations of locality traditions, customs and folkways, aspirations based on
prioritised goals set on capabilities. I am not for anything pretentious to the
grandiose pomp and panoply of the full-fledged state, just as I am disdainful of
the perpetually anemic and epileptic secretariat-and-bureaucracy system that we
whole, I am inclined to a locality administration and development system, which
derives its meaning, strength, and impact from the exploration of the values of
political and social varieties of our societies.
weighed down, as we were, by the need to achieve these and fully convinced of
the futility of the local government system, as it is constituted at present, we
in Enugu State realised the challenge and judgment of history attendant upon the
declaration of Rousseau: "There is a social contract, not as a pledge of the
ruled to obey the ruler (as in Hobbes' Leviathan) but as an agreement of
individual judgment of their community as a whole; that each person implicitly
enters into Sovereign power in any state lies not in any ruler - individual or
corporate - but in the general will of the community…upon which the obligations
abide to work for and or protect
and or corporate interest/s of the community."
On this, we decided to evolve an admixture of a locality economic and political
system, which could tap from local knowledge, sensibility, and traditional pace
of the micro-societies in our environment. In doing that, we hoped, as it did
turn out, that we got into the business of properly relating with the people for
whom the locality administration efforts were geared.
This is the
birth of our Community County Council (CCC). Somehow, I can guess that this may
not be entirely strange to you considering the attention given to it on our
re-entry into the practice and the modification of the Michael Okpara pattern as
necessitated by time.
This is the
simple practice, which we have run with a high measure of success for over three
years now and at no much of cost on bureaucracy. We commenced with the mindset
to enact the Enugu State Community (Development) Coordinating Council Law 2001(a
law to make provisions for the establishment, structure, composition, finance
and management of Enugu State Community (Co-ordinating) Council programme)
through the State House of Assembly (See annexture).
for the membership of the Council to be a representative each from the local
villages/wards in the community, two representatives of the Christian faith, two
of traditional/indigenous faith, two representatives of traditional
organizations (social, rank, sect and title) and of course, two of youth
organizations and the local vigilante. We also provided that the elected
councilor (by Federal and State Constituency plan) of the Community and the
President and Secretary of the town union be ex-officio members.
these, the Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and other officials of the Community
County Management Committee are picked (in-house) and relayed to the supervising
department of government for ratification.
Management Committees are mandated to assess projects based on priorities and
clarifications before accessing the funds through levying the people to meet
their own obligation of 25 per cent of cost of such project/s they consider
paramount to undertake at each time. Prior to the institution of the programme,
we had arranged for the State government to shoulder the responsibilities of
whatever approved project they undertake up to 50 per cent while the local
community and the local government would split the remaining 50 per cent
fears were generated on the appointment or nomination or election into the
Management Councils but conscious of the distinctiveness of communities and
their perfected crisis resolution models, we agreed on letting each Community
evolve ways of erecting the Councils. Eventually, what appeared highly popular
among the Communities was the broadening and strengthening of the Town Unions to
admit all that were required in forming and acting a true County Management
also generated about internal sourcing of funds since most people feared that
locality peoples might be taxed beyond their capabilities considering the extent
of blight and squalor in the communities. But this was overcome as it got easily
established that Communities only embarked on projects whose funding, on
aggregate, were conveniently paid up to by the people. Such moderation of the
projects as may be dictated by the capability and willingness of the natives
compelled a healthy relation of the development ambition of each Community with
what is necessary and what is affordable. It also encouraged joint County
projects as two or more nearby or closely related Counties set to undertake
projects which otherwise would have proven unnecessary in duplication and cost
government and people of Enugu State drew sound lessons in this initiative as it
was re-established that the local knowledge and sensibility couldn't be ignored
in any locality development programme. We also realized that the much-needed
responsibility of the man in the street could be obtained and applied with such
attendant results as having every hand on deck and every fellow seeing
him/herself as a partaker and a mover.
also re-established as before that responsibility and care for public property
are more with Communities contributing and assuming close ownership of amenities
in such local counties. And in this season of vandalisation of public amenities,
we discovered that local people are more sensitive and protective of what they
build than they can be disposed to such projects which were built without as
much consultation or consideration of their sensibilities.
In fact, it
turned out that people cast much of sacrosanct values to
Community-built-projects and further erect taboos against offending attitude to
same; more so when members of the community know themselves and can easily
identify trouble makers or culprits in their midst.
Above all, we
re-established that the success of locality development programmes has nothing
to do with large bureaucracy and magnificent local government headquarters.
Indeed, if anything, such vast bureaucracies and the edifices of architectural
beauty at the headquarters only eroded the texture of the basic communities
while they concentrated resources and requisite leadership at points too distant
from the people.
whereas I acknowledge this model as very efficient and indeed recommend same as
the best for the States in the old Eastern Region of Nigeria, I am bold to state
that there is no guarantee on my part that it will follow the same patterns,
achieve the same or similar results and run without eroding some elements of
culture in some other regions where traditional institutions operate in ways
different from such factors which give vent to the consensus/republicanism of
The fact is
that it cannot be ignored that the East is an open society with autonomous
micro-community formations providing for consensus, which affirms the
independence of each individual even in the milieu. Also, the people are, as
individuals, supremely assertive and extremely competitive in ways that rub off
on the community and organizations they run.
given so much to diplomacy, they have evolved the tradition of consensus through
which they have developed the highest level of moderation or management of the
hard driving individualism. In a way, this contributed so much to the success of
the local county council system, both in the old and the present, but which
leaves room for other reasons to be ascertained for its success outside the
I bring in
this argument of the disparity of values and traditional institutions which we
must no longer ignore in dealing with the local government question because I am
certain that our problems in this matter relate so much with the unreasonable
desire of the colonial administration to foist on the nation-state a single
locality administration system.
It was indeed
strange, if not absurd, that the colonial administrators, particularly Lugard
did not see or respect the variety, nay diversity, of Nigeria that he sought so
desperately to foist one single system where primordially, there were clear-cut
lines which would have enriched the federalism of the state and produced a
healthy marriage of values.
We cannot so
soon forget the desperation of Lugard whose quasi-intellectuals, in a desperate
attempt to justify their indirect rule system in the East, argued that they had
found a master race in the Aros whose economic (slaving) oligarchy was gaining
superiority in the days before colonialism. They had therefore recommended that
as the Fulani were the ruling caste of the North, the Aros should be recognized
as the master race (distinct from the major Igbo stock) of the East and so given
the mantle of political, economic and moral leadership.
the indirect rule to the East and indeed in foisting same all over the country,
the same colonial masters negated the injunction of one of their key players,
Sir Ralph Moor, who defined local administration as "a policy of supervision and
control which creates the general conditions of peace and improved
communications which would enable the people to harvest their resources…"
uniform structure, the colonial, as well as successive indigenous governments,
only eroded the principles as established by Moor since they negated the variety
of the peoples and the need for them to apply their local methods to move from
one stage of life to the other. It also cared less about the United Nations'
injunction that any local administration must cultivate the locality
sensitivity, evolve acceptable attitude to segments of development and native
foregoing, I could not reconcile the imperial attitude of past administrations
in setting a uniform system with the claims of seeking to develop the localities
in the prevailing patterns. Such attitude has only left me with the fear that we
have negated the admonition of Arthur Lewis in the Variety of Societies which is
that "…any idea that one can make different peoples into a nation (of
functioning institutions) by suppressing the religious, tribal or regional or
other affiliations to which they themselves attach the highest political
significance is simply a non-starter. National loyalty cannot immediately
supplant tribal loyalty by creating a system in which all the tribes (ethnic
nationalities) feel that there is room for self expression."
Whereas it is
possible to blame the failure of the colonial regime in locality administration
on its attitude as an imperial power, such excuse cannot be tabled by successive
post-independence governments, which though had good knowledge of our local
varieties, opted for such imposition of a contraption whose operational mode was
largely imperious and indeed alien.
judgment, our previous administrations tried to reduce Nigeria to a single value
State without due appreciation of tendencies of nation-state. It was unfortunate
that we had ignored
injunction that "…no society can overleap its natural phases of evolution nor
shuffle them out of the world by a stroke of the pen."
It is on this
note that I submit, and strongly too, that our uniformity in administration of
locality growth and development be limited to the existing 774 local government
governments with the proviso that States or geo-political zones can, and indeed
will, evolve some extension of the values of variety with the attendant deeper
penetration and impact on the real locality areas and peoples.
differently, the real journey of achieving locality development through proper
administration of men and material begins in our accepting the variety of the
nation-state, and in seeking to apply cost effective and simple tools to
reaching our goals. What is practised in Jigawa State may not necessarily be
what obtains in Enugu.
inexplicable reasons some local values in Ogun State find expression in Edo or
Bayelsa, the reality of historical accidents would not be made to supplant the
possibilities of variety arising from emerging tendencies of current political
configuration. In this, we will be talking of due sensitivity to the feelings of
Sokoto as a State which must, of necessity, retain some vestiges of the
perfectly emirate pattern as handed down from the days of the great empire. We
are clearly facing the reality of our nation-state in acceding to the freedom of
Ibadan to resolve matters of local needs, most of which may have flowed from
cultivated and extended conducts from days of the prestigious Oyo Empire.
If then we
accede to the fundamental injunction, delaying no further in accepting, as held
in ages gone by, that "…a system (including political) is any set of mutually
interdependent elements which when viewed together as an organized whole can be
given a boundary separating the inter-related elements from their environments,"
applying the same attitude as in letting each state of the federation evolve its
own locality administration system based on what is simple and easily attainable
to the people, we go home whistling, as in Enugu State,
To God Be the Glory.
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