Eben Enasco Reporting.

Some are born to office, some rise through military or civilian bureaucracies, and some are elected to office.

Election is a distinctive route into the political elite; it is an avenue that distinguishes elected personalities from most other members of a nation’s political spaces.

The above position is not, however, true of only the elected personalities across other strata in a liberal democracy, but includes other institutions.

It also includes the executive arm at all levels of government, as well as the local government councils.

The importance of election is further seen in the fact that all things being equal, it produces a ‘responsive and responsible government’.

It also performs the task of upward communication of people’s wishes to a government.

For instance, the electorate may vote against a sitting government because of some of its unpopular policies, but it can not stop even those who voted against the government from participating through constructive criticism of its policies.

In Edo State, the Independent Electoral Commission, EDSIEC, commissioned by the state governor, fixed September 2, 2023, for the local council elections in the state.

On Saturday, the 2nd of September 2023, huge participants thronged out to exercise their franchise but were denied the opportunity by those who wanted to continue to practice the undemocratic process in a democratic setup.

Edolites went with the mindset to cast their votes for their chosen candidates across the three political majors, People’s Democratic Party, PDP, All Progressive Congress, APC, and the Labor Party, LP, in the state.

Hopes were dashed after voting materials and officials arrived late to some polling centers and in other cases disappeared to a direction unknown to the electorates where a few individuals thumb-printed ballot papers under the supervision of some security operatives with hired thugs in the guise of local vigilante brandishing their guns to scare intending voters away.

The Electoral Commission is believed to be the body saddled with the responsibility of organizing and conducting elections in a state, even though the gaff’s recorded

In most countries, they are usually constituted by the executive head of the country.

One would be forced to ask, what is the role of political executives of a state in the determination of representation at the local government level in Nigeria?

What are the activities of the State Independent Electoral Commission, SIEC, in the management of local government polls in Nigeria?

What are the imperatives of local government elections on the political well-being of Nigeria?

These questions have begged for answers in all methodologies adopted in analyzing local government polls in Nigeria whereby a review of local government elections was made before narrowing it down to specificities.

The theoretical framework and recommendations adopted going forward should be the ‘Independent Model, which states that as an institution of government, it must operate independently free of interference from any organ of government or any of the stakeholders in the electoral process in the course of discharging its responsibilities as a subsystem in a polity.

In a situation where the electoral umpires are commissioned by Governors, no opposition is expected to win the election.

A non-partisan body that determines election procedures and district boundaries should be seen as overseeing the conduct of elections.


As fast as the lightning speed of Thunder, the local government elected or selected Chairmen, and their Counselors were sworn into office across the 18 Local Government Areas of the State.

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, was quick to charge the 18 newly sworn-in local council executives to throw in everything they have to serve the people.

The governor knowing the task ahead summons them to creativity, and innovation to drive devotional development at the grassroots

Obaseki gave the charge during the swearing-in of the council officials, at the Government House, in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

The governor expressed satisfaction with the quality of the people his party, the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, has produced and who have now been elected to serve the people at the grassroots.

However, in the governor’s remark, one thing struck my mind, and that was his advice on Education.

While commending the outcome of the election, Obaseki urged the chairmen to be creative and focus on the key policies and programs of the government to drive all-around development at the grassroots.

He emphasized that education is a key priority, urging the new Council Chairmen to help strengthen the achievement of this administration in the education sector.

As critical as Rural Education is, the mandate to the local council administrators will help galvanize the urgent need for renovations of the most dilapidated school buildings in every locality.

The newly sworn-in administrators must now Shun all forms of celebrations or goodwill messages and quickly settle down and get the ground running by setting up their administrative structures.

Apart from the priority set on Education, there are lot to be done in rural electrification and road networking.

Most communities across the interiors are not motorable and need urgent government interventions.

The Chairman’s main role is to run the council by ensuring that effective and lawful decisions are taken at meetings of the council and, assisted by the clerk, guides activities by managing the meetings of the council.

All chairmen across the 18 local government councils must ensure that deliberate policies are made to construct roads motorable for their people outside cueing behind the governor’s priority on Education.

Poor road networks have hampered the movement of farm produce giving birth to food insecurity. This should also climb the ladder of priorities for the administrators


The idea and practice of localizing government is a universal and age-old phenomenon.

In Nigeria, before the emergence of the contemporary state system, governance in all originality was locally or community-based, with the emergence of state-to-localize government.

The need for localizing governance in the modern-day setting is the need to bring governance closer to the people.

Even as its functions and relevance sometimes overlap with those of other levels of government, a democratic system is a way of making governance more efficient and effective in a democratic system of Governance.

After the big announcement of the winners by EDSIEC, there is another level of work to be done by the Local Government henchmen in their various councils.

The council bosses must maintain liaison with the legislative arm of the local government; since he must counter-sign the Annual Performance Evaluation Report of the Heads of the local government departments.

They have to address the local government council at least once a year.

During this address, they are expected to give an account of their achievements and the problems or challenges they have encountered in the year.

The Local Government Chairmen will not only present their annual budgets to the local government councils at the beginning of the year for consideration and approval but must also be seen placing each record in public glare for scrutiny.

In exercising their powers and discharging their Administrative, and financial functions, they have to consult and carry along important stakeholders like the CSOs, the Fourth Estate of the realm, and Anti-graft Agencies for transparency purposes.


It is on record that the functions of local government in the country are contained in the 1999 constitution.

According to the fourth schedule of the constitution; the following are the functions of Local Government.

Collection of rates, radio and television licenses; Establishment and maintenance of cemeteries, burial grounds, and homes for the destitute or infirm, Licensing of bicycles, trucks other than mechanically propelled trucks, canoes, wheelbarrows
And cart, Establishment, maintenance, and regulation of slaughterhouses, slaughter slabs, markets, motor packs, and public conveniences.

Construction and maintenance of roads, streets, street lightings, drains 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, Naming of roads and streets and numbering of Houses, Provision, and maintenance of public conveniences sewage and refuse disposal.

Others include Registration of all births, deaths, and marriages and assessment of privately owned houses or tenements to levy such rates as may be prescribed
by the House of Assembly of a state.

They also control and regulates Out-door advertising and hoarding, the Movement and keeping of pests of all description, Shops and kiosks, Restaurants, bakeries, and other places for the sale of food to the public; Laundries and Licensing regulation and control the sale of liquor.

Some other functions include participation of the council in the government of a state in Concerning the following matters.

The provision and maintenance of primary, adult, and vocational education, development of agriculture and natural resources, other than the exploitation of minerals, provision and maintenance of health services, and such other functions as may be conferred on a local government council by The House of Assembly of the state.


The local governments in the country have been found to perform below expectations because they have been gagged by state governors despite the Constitution clearly stating their roles.

Steadily, one of the problems and challenges facing local government administration in Nigeria today is
the growing practice among the state governments to divert local government funds through state-local government joint accounts.

This is possible because local government allocations from the federation account are disbursed through the state governments.

Most state governments have taken this advantage to divert part of the allocation to other otiose projects thereby robbing the local governments of the capacity to perform their functions and live up to the expectations of the people.

Although, the Executive Order signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in May 2020 to rightly grant financial autonomy to the judiciary, legislature as well as local government councils, as the third tier of government was highly commendable.

The order also mandated the Accountant-General of the federation to deduct from the source amount due to state legislatures and judiciaries from the monthly allocation to each state for states that refuse to grant such autonomy.

This remains one of the landmark achievements of Buhari’s administration on the policy paradigm shift towards a more people-friendly leadership structure of the long-running dysfunctional polity.

Worthy of note is that it runs in tandem with Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution which spells out the functions of the local government, including the provision and maintenance of primary, adult, and vocational education, and the development of agricultural and natural resources other than the exploitation of minerals.

Before now successive state government administrations had viewed the local councils as mere appendages to the second-tier structure.

To them, they are the drain-pipes for self-aggrandizement or feather their nests as part of the monthly allocations from the federal center.

Several governors climb on the rooftop to clamor for restructuring along with true fiscal federalism only to turn deaf ears to the call for financial autonomy for the local governments.

As a way of reminder, it is not enough to sound out priorities by the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, but to allow the stipulated financial autonomy of the local government to breathe in the state.

In several forums, Governor Obaseki had informed that his administration is transparent and he must be seen practicing this, particularly with local government funds if he must be taken seriously.

Governor Obaseki must demonstrate a knack for obeying the rule of separation of power he professes regularly to allow his newly sworn-in council henchmen in the state to execute projects.

Local Government authorities should be allowed to collect taxes as mandated by the Constitution and function maximally with the same if they must discharge their duties.

In the real sense, when local government delivers mandatory dividends of democracy, governance becomes close to the people, and as such the praises are always to the state governor of the state.

Related to this is the growing perception among local citizens that local governments are indeed citadels of sharing the national cake.

The unceasing growth in the rate of corruption is stirred by the apron grip of governors on local government resources including taxes accruals to local governments.

For example, the fear of Job security occasioned by the state governors’ interference with their resources and the outright syndrome to collect before they are removed from office despite being constitutionally elected, is a major push factor for the rush for embezzlement by Council Chairmen.

Indeed, corruption and abuse of office by local government administrators have assumed gargantuan proportions.

It is perpetrated by both local government bureaucrats and political office kickbacks

These categories of local government administrators are neck deep in inflation of contracts, outright embezzlement of council funds, kickbacks on contracts; and none-execution of contracts among other corrupt practices.

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