A former Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr Bamitale Oguntoyinbo, has blamed the state governors for paralysing activities at the local government level in the country.
Oguntoyinbo, also a former local government Chairman in Ekiti, spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Oye-Ekiti, Oye Local Government Area of Ekiti.
He said: “I can say with all authorities that local government is the bedrock of democracy.
“But unfortunately, local governments have been paralysed and underdeveloped; no, thanks to our state governors.”
Oguntoyinbo said the state governors had misappropriated the funds meant for the development of local governments.
According to him, the local government chairmen cannot rise against the move, because it is the governors that put them on the seat.
“There is nothing the chairmen can do than to comply, because it was the governors that paid for their forms and even sponsored their campaigns; so they are handicapped.
“If these council chairmen had contested for elections on their own with campaign promises and won, they will have their freedom.
“They will be ready to perform because they will be conscious of what awaits them from their people after completing their tenure, should they fail to perform,” he said.
The former Special Adviser on Rural Development in the state, said the existence of states would be meaningless, if the local governments autonomy could be fully implemented and well funded.
“Two local governments that share the same boundary will perform creditably, if well funded.
“Because, they will manage their security well, as they know each other; they will ensure that money circulates and as well provide jobs for their people.
“Even, in terms of agriculture, they are in the best position to handle it.
“But, in a situation that they are incapacitated and at the mercy of the governors, not only that, they go cap in hands begging for money, there is no way democracy can survive,” he said.
The former NOA director blamed the National Assembly members too for not playing any role in the development of their various constituencies and districts.
“People at the National Assembly, what are they doing? Because, I see these people as mere figures making up the legislative arm of the country.
“They don’t relate with their people at home, especially those at the grassroots.
“They don’t relate or sit with their people, or live within the community; they hardly go to their villages. What then are they legislating upon?
“They are afraid of insecurity in their local areas and the reason is not far-fetched, because they did not do well and are inaccessible, that’s why they are afraid to go to the grassroots,” he said.