The quest for business and functionality of local governments has been a topical issue in recent times. This is just because citizens are not feeling the impact of governance at the grassroots.
The interference of governors in the administration of local governments in the country has retarded growth and development at the grassroots. In most cases, the choice of who becomes council boss is not based on people’s wish, but the whims of the governor. The person so appointed may not have business acumen to drive the grassroots and the area council to economic prosperity.
Although, there is nothing wrong in rewarding a loyalist with positions in government or anywhere, including local government levels and others, but my reservation is about the skills of the persons being rewarded. This is because most of them do not measure up to the aspiration of the people within their area council.
It is surprising that most local government administrators don’t know the economic potentials of their area councils and it is a pity.
A lot of local governments possess endowments that if tapped, can make them economically viable and self-sustaining. Unfortunately, most administrators today are bereft of business and economic ideas. Therefore, when I read recently in a press statement by the chairman of a local government council announcing that there would be a business summit in his council area soon to change the aforementioned narrative, it rekindled my hope that there are still business-minded local government administrators in the country that we can rely upon for the economic upliftment of the country.
This is a commendable initiative by the leadership of the LCDA. However, the management of the local government should be holistic in its search for investible potentials in the council apart from the road network, which commuters could leverage on. It can conduct a research on how to discover more potentials initiatives that could increase its internally generated revenue (IGR) to enable it deliver more dividends of democracy to the people.
Besides, to attract more businesses to the area council, it should train its staff on business consciousness, courteous approach to residents and members of the community, including corporate organizations operating within the locality. This will enable government and the people synergize with a view to realizing more revenue. That will help also to create employment and develop the infrastructure within the locality. The council should as well make effective use of the media to highlight and showcase their activities before the populace who already see local governments as non-performing.
Finally, whoever wants to sponsor anybody as a chairmanship candidate in future local government elections should ensure that the person is somebody who has business management pedigree, a core politician should not be imposed on the council.
► Peter Ogbuokwa, a staff of The Sun, wrote from Lagos via email. He can be reached through 08127588053.