Lagos LGs: Who Blinks First?
Lagos State is one of the fastest-growing commercial cities in Nigeria that has 57 local governments; 20 LGs and 37 LCDAs. Though, the federal government only recognized 20 local governments and nothing more. The former Lagos State governor and present South West APC leader, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu that created these additional LCDAs to help bringing government nearer to the grassroots.
The tenure of Lagos State local government councils are gradually coming to an end as the Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola prepares to handle the leadership to another elected democratic government come 2015. Few months from now, Lagos State government will dissolve all the local government councils to appoint new caretaker committees that will overseer the affairs of the councils pending when the elections would be fully conducted and to elect new council officers.
Though, ACN was the platform that elected all the present Lagos State council chairmen and councillors, until the mergers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) came into existence late last year. APC is one of the strongest opposition parties in Nigeria. In the last Lagos State local government elections, the opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) accused the defunct ACN as chain riggers in the state which elections were highly marred by those that controlled the centre.
Some of the unopposed returning council officers betrayed the trust bestowed on them while some of the APC members claimed that Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu never bothered to listen to the voices of the electorates than using his political power to foist half -baked council chairmen on them. Some never won the second term elections but was compulsory that all the first tenure council officers must return back to power by force.
Some of the present Lagos State local government councils are nothing to write home about. Out of the 57 local government councils, only 10 percent has provided infrastructural developments to the grassroots while the rest have succeeded in embezzling the council funds ahead of their bigger political ambitions. Some council officers have made themselves lords over the people that elected them into power. It is difficult to meet some of the elected council officers in their offices for any political discussions on the growth of their governments.
The mega city proposed plan by the present Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, only few local councils have able to work towards that noble vision. Some of the present council officers are completing their stipulated second terms while some are just running their first terms planning to contest for their second terms.
The Lagos State government has able to conduct its local government elections over the years unlike some State governors that cannot conduct their LG polls than inaugurating caretaker committees for corruption.
The sad news is that some present serving council officers in the state have succeeded in embezzling the council funds making it difficult for the incoming ones to progress in their leadership if not interrogated by security agencies now.
Only few councils in the State like Ifelodun LCDA under Hon. Shauib Ajidagba(Ajifat) serving his first tenure, Apapa LGA, Hon. Ayodeji Adewale, Amuwo- Odofin, Hon Adewale Ayodele, Ajeromi- Ifelodun, Hon. Kamal Beyewu, Oriade LCDA, and others must be commended for their various infrastructural development drives within their councils.
Now that APC is a national party, electoral manipulation will be reduced in the State unlike when ACN as a regional affairs marred the hopes of many credible voters due to corruption that greeted the centre then.
It is time for Lagos State government to conduct free and fair elections in the State than conscripting cold-blooded representatives on the people. The opposition parties should be given opportunity to participate in the next local government elections not obligatory that the government in power must win it all. In the last LG polls in the State, PDP won some councils like Badagry, Obalede LCDA and others, yet the tribunal courts were in favour of the winning party in power. Politics is not run that way in the world if we claimed to be democrats and custodian of democracy in the Nigeria. People should be allowed to vote their choice not political endorsement in the state.
Godday Odidi. PublicAffairs Analyst 08058124798. LAGOS.