Local Government: A Sine Qua Non for National Development – By Femi Olabisi

25 Oct

The universal need for the establishment of the local government system in any polity is not controvertible. It appears to be a general agreement among nations that for grassroots development, the local government institution is the most veritable catalyst. The following are some of the essential justification of the local government system vis a vis its importance in the socio-political and economic development of a nation:

There are many social amenities which the central government alone cannot provide. Local government is needed for local initiatives in the mobilization of human and material resources for the provision of such amenities which they cannot provide for individually. Therefore, local government becomes a viable arena for the collectivity of people by pooling their resources together to provide for such amenities like roads, electricity, water supply, health centres, etc.

In the same vein, the central government is too remote from the local communities. The local communities are more familiar with their problems, thus it is through the local government institution that local initiatives can be galvanized to provide solutions to those problems.

Similarly, there are different people living in different communities with varying cultures, traditions and languages. Local government provides a good platform for the preservation of these cherished customs and traditions. In addition, local government provides the mechanism through which tension is reduced at the centre by spreading authority and power on geographical basis, and thereby disabusing the minds of the local people from the notion of being alienated

Of importance also is that local government provides the opportunity for local people to participate in the act of governance and provide leadership training in the use of power and the consequences in the abuse of power. More importantly, it inculcates in participants democratic culture and practices. The act of representative government derives from the local government. This is because it is usually made up of either elected or selected representatives of the people.

Local government equally provides criteria for measuring development in the society. This is because, in establishing local government, there are certain established standards or functions which are expected to be performed by local government institutions. The argument is that if all the local government units in a country meet up with these standards invariably, the country would have experienced development. Put differently, if all the 774 local government units in Nigeria have affordable and adequately equipped health centres, it translates that the whole of Nigeria is enjoying good health services.

Based on all the aggregates of the immense benefits derivable from the local government system, the institution has become to be regarded as a sine qua non for rural and national development.

Twitter: @ Femiolas

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Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Thoughts


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