40—Vanguard, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2018 MOST Nigerians are now familiar with the sight of road blocks set up by Local Governments to collect one form of tax, levy or rate as the case may be. These road blocks can be found within most cities and on inter-state highways. The Local Government officials assigned to these road blocks in most cases menacingly demand payment of all manner of fees from drivers of commercial and private vehicles. Some Nigerians who have been bold enough to challenge their authority have often come away with one sordid tale or the other. Most Local Governments justify these road blocks - which they conveniently label as revenue generation drives- with the excuse that they need to shore up their dwindling allocations from the Federal and State governments in order to perform their constitutional functions. Yet it is generally agreed that most Local governments have despite their ubiquitous revenue generation drive, failed to make meaningful positive impacts on the lives of Nigerians. Designed to bring the positive effects of governance to the populace, they have on the contrary brought more hardship owing to their failure to attend to the most basic of their functions and duties. Many reasons have been adduced for this failure. There however appears to be little consensus as to the way forward to get Local Governments to function in the manner required of them. Functions of Local Governments For the avoidance of doubt, Recuring problems in local government administration: Need for lasting solution the functions of Local Governments are as contained in the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended). Some of these include, 1. establishment and maintenance of cemeteries, burial ground and homes for the destitute or infirm; (item 1c) 2. establishment, maintenance and regulation of slaughter houses, slaughter slabs, markets, motor parks and public conveniences; (item 1e) 3. construction and maintenance of roads, streets, street lightings, drain and other public highways, parks, gardens, open spaces, or such public facilities as may be prescribed from time to time by the House of Assembly of a State; (item 1f) 4. provision and maintenance of public conveniences, sewage and refuse disposal; (item 1h) It is clear that the performance or nonperformance of the above functions will generally have Map of Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari the greatest effect on the populace. Therefore those who posit that Local Governments play the most important role in the day to day administration of a country cannot be faulted. However, evidence abound across the country that most Local Governments have failed to Most Local Governments are manned by unskilled or semiskilled personnel. Regrettably, the same thing applies to most Chairmen of the Local Governments who often possess only the most basic of qualifications perform the functions stated above. They have been mostly interested in other aspect of their functions listed in the Fourth Schedule of the constitution such as; 1.Collection of rate, radio and television licenses; (item 1b) 2.Licensing of bicycles, trucks (other than mechanically propelled trucks), canoes, wheel barrows and carts; (item 1d) 3.Control and regulation of out-door advertising and hoarding, shops and kiosks, restaurants, bakery and other places for sale of food to the public. (item 1k) In other words, most Local Governments are only interested in the aspect of their functions which will attract revenue to them while they conveniently ignore the responsibilities stipulated under the Fourth Schedule. A lot of reasons have been given for the failure of Local Governments to perform their Constitutional duties, the notable of which are 1.Control of Local Government Most States Governments deliberately starve Local Governments of the funds needed for their survival. They often achieve this through joint state-local government account. The stranglehold which States governments exercise over the Local Governments is traceable to the provisions of the Section 7 of the Constitution which provides as follows: 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 above provisions essentially provide State governors and their governments the opportunity to deny most Local Governments of the much needed autonomy to function optimally. Knowing fully well that he may be removed by a Governor, a Local Government chairman will do virtually anything including permitting the state to take a large percentage of revenue due to his local government in a bid to keep his job. 2.Absence of Skilled Personnel Most Local Governments are manned by unskilled or semiskilled personnel. Regrettably, the same thing applies to most Chairmen of the Local Governments who often possess only the most basic of qualifications. This is made possible by virtue of Section 7(4) of the Constitution which requires a government of a state to ensure that any person who is entitled to vote or be voted for at a House of Assembly Election should have the right to be voted for at an election to a local government council. A person desirous of contesting election as a Local Government Chairman needs only the qualification required for contesting election into a House of Assembly which by virtue of Section 106 of the Constitution is amongst others, “education up to at least the School Certificate level or its equivalent”. In fact he needs not have passed the Certificate examination itself. Most of them go about with state of the art vehicles and retinue of aides and personal assistants. They love the display of power but do not appreciate the responsibility that go along with power. Recommendation for for scrapping of local governments It was as a result of the perceived failure of the system that the Committee on Political Restructuring and Forms of Government of the last National Conference recommended the scrapping of the Local Government tier of government and the removal of the 774 existing local government councils from the Constitution. By the recommendation, the Committee proposed that the state should enact laws to determine the number of local governments required in each state. In effect, there would only be two tiers of governments recognized by the Constitution to wit: the Federal Government and State Governments. Furthermore, the Local governments which will then exist under the authority of the State governments will not receive statutory allocations directly from the federation account. Whether or not the committee was right in recommending the scrapping of Local Government will be considered in the next edition. To be continued.
Vanguard, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2018 —41 INAUGURATION—Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike (M) Chairman; Deputy Governor Ipalibo Harry Banigo (2nd R); Chief Ferdinand Anabrabra (R), former NBA President, Chief Onueze (2nd L) and Dr. Ngozi Ordu (r) after the inauguration of the Rivers State Honours Advisory Committee by Gov Wike at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday. Buhari’s ‘one term’ offer no longer applies— PRESIDENCY Continues from Page 5 restructuring and growing the economy. His attitude to governance is dictatorial and he has aroused ethnic, regional and religious consciouness once again, which will influence the 2019 election." Buhari has to prove he deserves reelection – Osuntokun On his part, Mr. Akin Osuntokun, former Political Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, said President Buhari’s aspiration was still a speculation. "When he has the courage to confirm the speculation, he would tell us what he has done to merit re-election. He would be required to clearly enunciate the record on which he wants to run for second term. He would have to clarify how his incumbency and the APC government have proven a better alternative to the PDP and President Goodluck Jonathan with whom they steadfastly compare record of failures-not achievements. "He would be reminded how a non partisan credible international organisation- Transparency International, has rated his government’s record on corruption worse than his much maligned predecessor. "Above all, we would acknowledge that he has done his best but that best is demonstrably below par. We would encourage him that at the realistic estimated age of 80 years or above, he should heed the charitable advice of his doctor to return to Daura not later than May 29, 2019, to eat more and sleep more,” he said. Osuntokun continued: "The President publicly confessed that old age is a drag and limitation on his capacity to function. How does this old age debility factor support his aspiration for second term? Beyond what he said is the evidence of the health crisis that kept him away for over four months-and the numerous half or a third a day schedule he was forced to keep by ailing physical health. The resurgence of Boko Haram and the escalating herdsmen militia crisis are the main evidence you need to rate his success in security." He should check reactions of Ngerians to his declaration – PDP Reacting to the comments of the Presidency, the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, urged the presidency to read the mood of Nigerians. "They should read or check the reactions and inclinations of Nigerians to President Buhari’s declaration to go for second term. I won’t say more than this," he said. Ondo govt explains hike in varsity fees FOLLOWING the spate of protests that have greeted the increase in tuition fee recently announced by the governing council of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, AAUA, the Ondo State government, yesterday, explained its role in the decision leading to the increase in the stateowned university. In a statement, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Yemi Olowolabi said: “It is very important for the general public and the good people of Ondo State to note that the tuition was arrived at and announced by the governing council after robust and exhaustive meetings with the university’s stakeholders, including the staff, students and parents. “It is equally important to note that the current fee of between N23, 000 and N37, 000 charged by AAUA was introduced about 18 years ago at commencement of the University in 2000. Listing series of problems, all arising from shortage or total lack of funds, that have confronted the university in the last five years, and stagnating the growth of institution, he said: “At the beginning, especially between year 2000 and up till year 2013, the University had it good with subventions from the state government for payment of salaries and execution of capital projects.” In an effort to set the records straight, Olowolabi said: “The fortunes of the University began to suffer with the downturn in the economy of Nigeria, becoming more serious from 2014, when the payment of subventions began to suffer and was eventually reduced. “It is rather unfortunate to note that, for a University of its status, no fund has been released for capital projects between 2014 and now. “The University further slid into financial problems in 2016 when subventions were not released to the university for a period of nine months. As we speak, the University still has outstanding subventions, covering July 2016 to January 2017 and totalling N1.48 billion.” “There is a wide gap between government subvention to the University and what is required to meet up with salary payment. The monthly wage bill for staff and pensioners is about N220 million while the monthly subvention is N150 Million, leaving a deficit of N70 million every month on salaries alone." CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA: Zuckerberg testifies before US Congress FOUNDER of Face book, Mark Zuckerberg yesterday testified before the US Congress acknowledging that the social media outfit failed to protect the data of its subscribers. The appearance marks the first time that Zuckerberg has testified before Congress. Zuckerberg, 33, swapped his usual gray t-shirt and jeans attire for a dark blue suit and light blue tie. He appeared somber as he walked in to testify, and spoke before a packed room, with 44 senators in attendance. “It’s extraordinary to hold a joint committee hearing. It’s even more extraordinary to have a single CEO testify before nearly half the United States Senate,” said Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Commerce Committee. “Then again, Facebook is extraordinary,” headed. The speech by Zuckerberg reads: “You will rightfully have hard questions for me to answer. Before I talk about the steps we taking to address them, I want to talk about how we got here. Facebook is an idealistic and optimistic company. For most of our existence, we focused on all of the good that connecting people can do. And as Facebook has grown, people have gotten its powerful new tool for staying connected to people they love and recently we’ve seen the #metoo movement and after hurricane Harvey, people came to the and 70 million small businesses used Facebook to create jobs and grow. But it’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools for being used as harm as well. “That goes for fake news, for interference in elections and we didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility and that was a big mistake and it was my mistake and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it and I’m responsible for what happens here. So now we have to go through all of our relationship with people and make sure we’re taking a broad enough view of our responsibility. ‘’It’s not enough to just connect people. We have to make sure those connections are positive. It is not enough to give people a voice. We have to make sure people aren’t using it to harm people or spread disinformation. Across the board we have YULIA Skripal, the daughter of former Russian spy Sergei Skirpal, has been discharged from the British hospital where the pair were being treated for a nerveagent attack just over a month ago. The medical director of Salisbury District Hospital, Chrisine Blanshard, said Yulia Skripal would require further treatment but that the development was a “significant milestone.” Her father was making “good progress,” Blan- China files complaint against US over trade dispute CHINA has filed a trade complaint with the World Trade Organization against the US. At issue is US President Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States would impose new tariffs on imported steel and aluminium. Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday that his government a responsibility to not just build tools but to make sure that they’re used for good. It will take some time to work through all the changes but I’m committed to getting this right. Here are a few things that we are doing to address this and to prevent it from happening again. First, we’re getting to the bottom of exactly what Cambridge Analytica did and telling everyone affected. “What we know now is that Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed information by buying it. When we first contacted Cambridge Analytica, they told us they had deleted the data. About a month ago, we heard new reports that suggested that wasn’t true. Now we’re working with governments in the U.S., the U.K. And around the world to do a full audit of what they’ve done and make sure they get rid of any data they may still have. Poisoned daughter of ex-Russian spy, discharged from hospital would “significantly lower” tariffs on vehicle imports this year as part of efforts to further open its giant economy to the world. The pledge addresses one of President Trump’s complaints; he has threatened to impose new tariffs on $150bn of Chinese goods in a trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies. shard said. The Skripals were found slumped on a bench on March 4 in the city of Salisbury after being exposed to a military-grade nerve agent, British authorities said. The UK government blames Russia for the attack, but Moscow has denied any involvement. Yulia Skripal, 33, regained consciousness in late March and released a statement last weekthanking those who treated her and father and those who had sent “messages of goodwill.” “Yulia has asked for privacy from the media and I want to reiterate that request,” Blanshard said in a statement delivered outside the hospital on Tuesday. Blanshard made no mention of Skripal’s present location, and London’s Metropolitan Police refused to comment on whether she was receiving police protection. “I also want to take this opportunity to wish Yulia well,” Blanshard said. “This is not the end of her treatment, but marks a significant milestone.” Seven Myanmar soldiers sentenced to 10 years for Rohingya massacre S EVEN Myanmar sol diers have been sentenced to “10 years in prison with hard labour in a remote area” for participating in a massacre of 10 Rohingya Muslim men in a village in northwestern Rakhine state last September, the army said on Tuesday. The military said in a statement published on Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing’s office Facebook page that seven soldiers have had “action taken against them” for “contributing and participating in murder”. The massacre was being investigated by two Reuters journalists - Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28 - who were subsequently arrested in December and are still behind bars facing charges of violating the country’s Official Secrets Act. The authorities told Reuters in February the military opened an internal investigation independently and that it is unrelated to the Reuters reporters who are accused of obtaining unrelated secret government papers.