Dean Initiative, a non-governmental organisation is set to stage local government accountability awards in Nigeria.
Local government accountability award is part of Dean’s strategic short term plan to promote transparency, accountability, citizen participation and responsiveness to citizens among the local government level of governance in Nigeria.
In a press statement made available to Blueprint, the NGO said its aim was to promote good governance, transparency, and accountability at the local government level.
According to the statement, six area councils in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) would be used as a pilot scheme.
The statement partly reads: “As the third tier of government in Nigeria and the closest to the grassroots (citizens), the agitation for the LGA autonomy as a constitutional tool to unbundle the unlimited influence of both federal and state and make local government areas truly independent and accountable to the people has been on, unfortunately, to suit their interests and political agenda.
“Both federal and state governments have maintained tight grip on this ambition thereby stalling progress. It is important to note that the fundamental principle of democracy can only be attained when citizens have the right to demand accountability and public officials are held accountable.
“As it stands today, the worst form of corruption takes place at the Local Government and this is made so simply because they have remained unchecked. 774 LGAs in Nigeria, this is probably one of the highest in Africa with so much structural abilities to transform local development at an unusual speed.”
While harping on the need to domesticate the newly initiated Open Government Partnership (OGP) signed by 70 member countries, the group observed that only Kaduna state has signed its domestication out of the 774 LGAs.
Worried by the developments, the organisation observed further: “For instance between May 1999 to June 2017, the six LGAs in FCT, Abuja had received over N228 billion. In 2018, the state and the local government jointly shared N4.5 trillion from the federal allocation. Unfortunately, this amount of money only appears on the pages of news and dailies for the citizens to see with no particular accountability structure for the citizen to participate in their tracking.”
Meanwhile, as a way of further enhancing local government autonomy in the country, the organisation has pledged to continue to encourage assessment of gas financial records through its activities.