Forget the Federal Government, focus on the State and Local Government
Dr. ChiChi Aniagolu-Okoye
Picture above credit: Oluwarantimi by Polly Alakija, public art project commissioned by the Lagos State Government ©Tayo Adeoye
Ninety percent of critiques in Nigeria focus on the Federal government.
While it cannot be denied that the Federal government wields enormous powers in Nigeria, many will be surprised to hear that its effective functioning will not make a dent in the lives of majority of Nigeria. In other words, even if the Federal government was functioning as well as it should, the impact will be minimal on the lives of most Nigerians. This is because, the levels of government with the greatest responsibility for impacting the lives of the average Nigerian are the State and Local governments.
Yet these arms of government get away with only an occasional criticism of their poor governance. If you check online and traditional media as well as social media commentators, majority will report and critique national issues. Many states may not make the news for months except for news the state government’s themselves sponsor. Do you remember the last time you heard any news on budget implementation in your state for example?
To rescue ourselves from our political leaders, we must focus majority of our attention on states and local governments. We must keep them on their toes with our interrogation of their plans, the scrutinizing of their budgets, project implementation, achievements or lack thereof and the criticism of the lifestyle of the governors and other aides of government. Each social critique must face his or her state and become a thorn in their flesh.
It is only when states and LGAs start providing for the citizens that real change will begin. If they tell you they have no money to do anything because most of the money is with the Federal government, ask them to show you what they have done with the little they have. Ask them how come they are able to get fantastically rich despite having no money to implement programmes for the people. Keep asking, keep nagging until we chase them out of office!
- Dr. ChiChi Aniagolu-Okoye, Country Director, TechnoServe Nigeria. is a Development Sociologist.