The Local government: what about it?
Hey people, the Lagos state elections for the third tier of government has come and gone. Winners are beaming with big fat smiles while the runner ups are…you know what?
If you think that elections at the federal and state government are the infamous gladiator’s ring at the Nigerian coliseum, then you are surely mistaken. Over and around the weekend leading to the elections, did you hear anything from the grapevine? You know…the charms, the do-or-die talk, desperate last minute moves by the politicians. You might have seen banners of political parties bearing the photo edited persona of ‘our’ representatives (I mean this words in the fullest sense, ‘canvasses is not about bodily makeovers and fine apparel, Oga would you go epp na’), their campaign trains and stuff.
Were you lucky to host and engage any one of the aspirants in your neighbourhood to an intellectual discourse? Was there any real jostling at least at an emotional level? I mean did any one of the aspiring council members appeal to you has noble, talk less of competent. I can bet most of y’all don’t even know anyone of them and yet to the eye of the world they represent you whether you like it or not. It says a lot indeed about the collective society.
Of course, it’s a giving that the state controls the affairs of the local government areas, LGAs. The horrific incidence of this election was the fact it resembled that time when your teacher would come into class and point in a barefaced manner, his favourite student and then announce ‘this is your class captain period.’
In the 2017 elections, were they any real opposition? Any appraisal of ideologies. No connection whatsoever between the appointed and the electorate. I could have said this is unacceptable but hey that would sound as naive as a 3 month old infant. In the past, we at least knew the stakes…lies! Lies!! Lies!!! yet we so we had a fair idea who the guy. Isn’t it a tad different now?
We are aware of the power play the upper chambers of government. The Machiavellian manoeuvre. We know politicians are mostly liars yet we respected them for the guts, the uncanny power of their minds and so much more. It wasn’t so much about simpletons imposed on the people. And worse the trend since my mind travel back has been beggars are appointed among a few trusted underdogs to carry out the wishes of their godfathers. They do not own themselves, the policies they promote or the powers they wield. For the selected underlings, they answer not to the real landlords but their boss who has no name figuratively. But chei, there’s God o! This thing has gone on for so long we need more than a redemption song you would agree.
Question is, would it still be appropriate to make demands, from someone who evidently serves two masters? You or his boss. He doesn’t know you? He doesn’t see your living condition? Does he know what he’s even in office for other than doing ‘twale’ for Baba isale?
And do they know…these things? Their responsibilities. The executive LG chairmen, the LCDA chairpersons and the ward councillors. Their solemn duty to their community amidst other things: make economic recommendations for the state at least they are the closest presence of the government to us; establishment and maintenance of homes for the destitute and infirm; establishment, maintenance & regulation of markets, motor parks etc; construction and maintenance of roads, street, drainages, parks, public highways and open spaces; provision & maintenance of public transportation and refuse disposal (not this demented act of social irresponsibility and lack of conscience of taking refuse from people’s houses and dumping them right at the entrance of their street). This list is by no means exhaustive. You can check for more on the state website for an official document.
Would things be any different once more in the new regime? Only time will tell.
Writer: Mayowa Shobo
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