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Researchers want autonomy for local councils 

By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo 
18 September 2022   |   2:42 am
A group of researchers has called on the National Assembly to amend the 1999 Constitution toward granting autonomy to local councils. They said this is necessary since the state governments

1999 Constitution

A group of researchers has called on the National Assembly to amend the 1999 Constitution toward granting autonomy to local councils. They said this is necessary since the state governments have hijacked the constitutional roles of the councils.

  
They also underscored the importance of developing policies that would solve other myriads of problems confronting the country, at the federal, state and local councils. 
 
They said this at the Lagos African Cities Research Consortium (ACRC) interim workshop for researchers, held at the Arthur Mbanefo Resource Center, University of Lagos.

The Convener, Prof. Taibat Lawanson, said that the gathering was to investigate specific PCPs for implementation in Lagos State, with the intent of sharing learning and best practices across other African cities.

“This workshop is an opportunity for the research team to present emerging findings and receive feedback from relevant government officials, the business community, civil society actors as well as members of local communities. 
 
“Through this interaction, we hope to fine-tune our intersectional understanding of Lagos, identify gaps in policy and practice and collaborative advance pragmatic approaches to bridging these gaps.”
  
At the workshop, the participants succeeded in producing a robust stakeholder engagement and communications strategy, geared towards uplifting ACRC activities in Lagos and also identified Priority Complex Problems (PCPs) for city-level implementation.
  
The key areas they looked into included structural transformation, housing, safety and security, neighborhood and economic district development.

Others were transportation, healthcare, education, waste management, energy, water sanitation as well as food distribution, finance, and ICT law and order.
  
They also cited exampleS of a collection of toll and levies at the parks by the states, which is a statutory responsibility of local council.
 
The group of experts agreed that nothing stops the National Assembly from legislating to grant total autonomy to the local councils.

They said: “The state government has taken over the roles of local councils reasons the councils are not performing. Local councils should be allowed to perform their function as stipulated by the Constitution.” 

The group also discussed ways to ensure that all stakeholders collaborate in identifying PCPs in addition to co-creating approaches for resolving them.
 
MEANWHILE, Chairman of Chairmen of all Community Development Association (CDA), Chief Azeez Amusa, has charged the Civil Society Organisation (CSO) to work with CDAs. He said the two bodies have a very critical role to play in Lagos’s political system.
 
He said that the Community Development Committee is the body that coordinates activities of the CDA 
 
According to him: “CDAs do attend the budget consultative forum. We have five divisions in which the state is being represented to move systematic and advice on what to do. The Community Development Committee has a role to play as they engage regularly with the government on particular policies.”