Strategies for Transforming Rural Areas and Ensuring Effective Governance in Local Governments in Nigeria
It is believed that the only reasonable form of development is the development that comes from within, sustainable development that comes through the will and desires of the people. The ideas behind the creation of Local Government in Nigeria is that the people at the local level are assumed to have the fullest awareness of their needs. Every local jurisdiction has its unique economic, social and physical characteristics and its historical tradition which are better understood by its people. Thus, the Local Government Areas are created to provide the services which the Federal and State Governments cannot easily undertake due to their remoteness from the local communities. Therefore, the concept of local government is to bring governance closer to the people at the grassroots, with the aim of caring for the socio-economic and development needs of local populace. Over the years, it has been observed that massive rural-urban migration and over congestion are heating up lives in the cities. Others have contented that Local Governments are docile in terms of aggressive revenue collection to augment allocations from the federation account which they get on monthly basis. Yet, others hinged Local Governments’ abysmal revenue generation on dishonesty on the part of council revenue collectors, who, in most cases, misappropriate collections made on behalf of the council. In the face of these charges or allegations, it has become pertinent to investigate why Local Governments in the country have poor revenue generation efforts. The thrust of this paper therefore is to find a lasting solutions to the financial problems hindering local governments in Nigeria, most especially strategies to ameliorate the over-dependence on allocation for the up-keep of the Local Government. The paper also recommends amongst others, that any official who divert local government funds to their personal purse should be punished in accordance with the law of the land, use of council staff for revenue collections should be encouraged and stop using agents who are not council staff. The paper concludes that undoubtedly, for Local Governments to be able to perform these functions creditably, they need sufficient funds.
Keywords: Local, Relevant, Mobilize, Revenue, Autonomy, Allocation.
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