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By adl

The recent declaration by the President of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Comrade Ambali Olatunji, that Ekiti State has complied with the constitutional provision on local government autonomy is a welcome development. This milestone, achieved under the administration of Governor Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji (BAO), is a significant step towards empowering local governments to drive grassroots development. As one of only three states in Nigeria to have achieved this feat, Ekiti State is setting a commendable example for others to follow.

The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, grants local governments autonomy and recognizes them as the third tier of government. Section 7(1) of the Constitution states, “The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under 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 such councils.”

The BAO administration’s commitment to local government autonomy is a demonstration of its dedication to grassroots development. By granting financial autonomy to local governments, the state government is enabling them to take ownership of their development processes. This autonomy allows local governments to allocate resources effectively, respond to local needs, and promote economic growth.

The impact of local government autonomy on grassroots development cannot be overstated. With the ability to manage their finances and make decisions independently, local governments can:

  1. Implement projects tailored to local needs, such as infrastructure development, healthcare, and education.
  2. Promote agriculture and food security by supporting local farmers and initiatives.
  3. Create jobs and stimulate economic growth through targeted interventions.
  4. Enhance transparency and accountability in governance.

To build on this progress, the BAO administration should prioritize monitoring the quantum of funds allocated to local governments and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) to ensure they are utilized effectively for grassroots development. Additionally, the administration should focus on boosting agriculture and food production at the local level, as this is critical for job creation and food security.

As Ekiti State continues to blaze the trail in local government autonomy, it is essential to ensure that this autonomy is accompanied by effective monitoring and support, paving the way for a brighter future and a more prosperous state. With this milestone, the BAO administration is indeed “walking the talk” of grassroots development, and its impact will be felt for generations to come.

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