The need to leverage Nigeria’s ongoing constitutional amendment to improve good governance and service delivery at the sub-national level was the focus of a panel discussion organized by the Partnership to Engage Reform and Learn in collaboration with Democracy Vanguard.
The panel discussion attended by top media professionals and other stakeholders gave them the opportunity to reflect on contemporary governance challenges and reform initiatives in the country, particularly at the sub-national level.
Deputy Leader of the PERL Engaged Citizens National Team, John Mutu, said in his presentation that for governance to work, each level of government must be effective and complement each other.
Mutu identified corruption, weak budget, poor planning and policy frameworks, weak accountability frameworks, weak oversight mechanisms, poor and uncoordinated service delivery, among others, as challenges that militate against corruption. good governance in Nigeria.
The keynote speaker of the meeting, Soni Irabor, said the role of the media in improving governance and service delivery at the subnational level said federal and state governments have taken responsibility councils of local governments and rendered the level of government powerless.
Irabor urged the media to sensitize citizens about the ongoing amendment of the constitution and educate them on the benefits of good governance at the local government level.
The National Assembly adopted on March 1, 2022 the Constitutional Amendment Bills granting autonomy to local government councils across the country.
These bills grant financial and administrative independence to local governments so that each local council can manage its affairs independently and efficiently.
The bills were forwarded to the State Houses of Assembly during the first week of April for ratification. Bills require the approval of at least 24 state houses of assembly to become law.
The National Team Leader, Partnership to Engage Reform and Learn, Engaged Citizens, Dr Adiya Ode, emphasized the need to improve sub-national governance and tasked the media and all stakeholders to support and work towards improving the efficiency and functionality of local governments in the country for the benefit of Nigerians.
The Managing Director and Editor of The Guardian newspaper, Martins Oloja, has lamented that local government is failing in Nigeria despite being the most important level of government.
He urged the country’s journalists to effectively play the role of watchdog to save the local government system and enthrone good governance at the local level.
Also speaking at the meeting, Ambassador Jerry Ugokwe of Democracy Vanguard said decentralization of power to local government level would contribute to good governance at the grassroots.