The Local Government System is a fundamental part of political administration in the nation being the closest government to the people at the grassroot. To this end, the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Lagos State in conjunction with Badagry Local Government held a One-day Workshop on Good Governance for Political Office Holders’ at the grassroot on Friday 6th April, 2018, at the Council Chambers, Badagry Local Government.
Flagging off the workshop as a keynote speaker, the Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Lagos State, Mr. Waheed Ishola commended the Local Government for hosting the workshop. He noted that the workshop is a veritable platform to awaken and sensitize political office holders to their responsibilities as true representatives of the electorate. As bad leadership is a major challenge in African continent, the director observed that, the necessity for continuous orientation and sensitization through the promotion of appropriate attitudes or value system for the three tiers of government (i.e Legislature, Executive and Judiciary) to appreciate its constitutional role and the boundaries of their powers cannot be wished away in our socio-political life.
In his paper, “Democracy and Good Governance at the Grassroots: National Orientation Agency’s Perspective”, the facilitator, Mr. Raphael Bowoto, Deputy Director, Programmes, defined Good governance as how effectively and efficiently public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources. Public institutions in this context means government establishments either at Federal, State and Local Government levels. He outlined six (6) features of Good Governance:- Participation, Accountability, Transparency, Consensus-Oriented/Consultation, Rule of Law, Strategic Vision to efficiently manage public resources.
The NOA model for good governance according to him strongly aligns with its slogan of “do the right thing: transform Nigeria”. In other words, do public institutions (LGAs/LCDAs) do the right thing? Are public offices rightly conducted at the grassroots? Are public resources rightly managed? NOA’s perspective for achieving good governance at the grassroots are as follows:
- Fulfilment of Electoral Promises
- Harmonious Relationship between the Council Executives/ Legislative/Civil Servants
- Overcoming Negative political Perception on Political Office Holders
- Optimal Use of Council Funds
- Transparency And Accountability
- Oversight Functions
- Ethics And Integrity in Civil Service
There is no doubting the fact that the governance at the grass root is quite a daunting task. Mr. Bowoto urged political office holders/civil servants to imbibe some of the messages articulated above for a better Nigeria.
Earlier on in his welcome address, the Executive Chairman of Badagry Local Government Area represented by the Vice Chairman, Mr. Akotomeh Gbetogo Andrew commended the National Orientation Agency (NOA) for deeming it fit to organize the programme in the Local Government Area. He noted that the workshop would energize and critically examine the democratic practices, increase the urge to serve the people better in the grassroot. He thanked NOA for their unwavering effort to move the nation forward at all levels of governance.
On his part, the second facilitator, Dr. Olawale Lawal of Political Science, University of Ibadan who spoke on “Local Government Administration and Promotions of Grassroots Democracy in Lagos”, among other things observed that it is essential to build an effective feedback system in the operations of local government authorities. Such as:
- Ward to ward meetings to share the mission of local government especially as it relates to taxations.
- The need for training of local government staff to get abreast with latest challenges.
- The training of revenue staff is very important in view of their relations with rate payers. Revenue staff should be included in budget retreats so that they share their experience on the field with budget officers.
- Emphasis should be on the development of programmes that will enable the citizens to feed themselves.
- Local authorities should not play with the three essentials of education, water and health.
- There should be ad-hoc committees on emerging challenges and trends. e.g the issue of drug abuse and reckless sexual behaviour of youths should be of immediate concern to all.
He maintained that the local government authority remains the sure bet for the promotion of these essentials.
In attendance were: Leader of the House, Hon. Akindele Taofik Aremu; Secretary of the Local Government, Mr. Ajape Kamorudeen, all the Political office holders in Badagry Local Government and Council Executives.