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The Constitutionality Of CGC and The Roles Of Local Government Council in Economic Development (1)

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Barr. Paschal NwosuThe law is not an exact science. In this regard in certain circumstance we cannot by mathematical exactitude interpret all enactments of parliament. This is because words have intrinsic and varied connotations. They do not always convey what they mean or mean what they say. However the provisions of the 1999 constitution as amended are very clear in the 4th schedule, the role the legislature has mapped out for the 774 Local government Councils in Nigeria.

Unfortunately, for reasons I have examined earlier on, in another article, in Law and Society, (see NULGE STRIKES: ARISING ISSUES OF CORRUPTION AND CONSTITUTIONALISM). the various governors in Nigeria are unwilling to liberate the institutions from vegetative hibernation and comatose dysfunctionalism.

The funding and functions of our local governments have been so hindered, that they are now almost irrelevant in our political equations.

What role did the constitution provide for the 774 local government areas?

The nature and role provided by the constitution for the local government councils are very clear under section 7 of the 1999 constitution and the 4th Schedule of the aforesaid constitution:

Local Government System

7-(7)  The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this constitution guaranteed; and accordingly, the government of every state shall, subject to section 8 of this constitution, ensure their existence under a law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils.

(2)   The person authorized by law to prescribed the area over which a local government council may exercise authority shall-

(a)  Define such area as clearly as practicable; and

(b)   Ensure to the extent to which it may be reasonably justifiable, that in defining such area regard is paid to-

(i)      The common interest of the community in the area,

(ii) Traditional association of the community, and

(iii)Administrative convenience.

(3)    It shall be the duty of a local government council within the state to participate in economic planning and development of the referred to in subsection (2) of this section and to this end an economic planning board shall be established by a law enacted by the house of Assembly of the state.

(4)  The Government of a state shall ensure that every person who is entitled to vote or be voted at an election to a house of Assembly shall have the right to vote or be voted for at an election to a Local Government council

(5)  The functions to be conferred by law upon local government councils shall include those set out in the fourth schedule to this constitution.

(6)   subject to the provisions of the constitution-

(a)   The National Assembly shall make provisions for statutory allocation of public revenue to local government councils in the Federation; and

(b)  The house of Assembly of a state shall make provisions for statutory allocation of public revenue to local government councils within the state.

The above provisions are very instructive and clearly indicate that the constitution intends a great role for local government councils as catalyst for economic planning and development in the state.

A look at the roles of local government council is therefore necessary.

 

FUNCTIONS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL.

Under the 4th schedule of the constitution, the main functions of the local government council are as follows:-

1  The economic development of the state in the areas of authority of the     council

2. Collection of rates, radio and television licenses.

3.Establishment and maintenance of cemeteries, homes for the destitute or infirm, licensing of bicycles, canoes, wheel barrows and carts

4.  Establishment, maintenance and regulation of slaughter houses, markets, motor parks and public conveniences.

5. Construction and maintenance of roads including the naming of streets, roads and the numbering of houses.

6. Registration of births and marriages.

7. Assessment of privately owned houses or tenements, as prescribed by the house of Assembly and the regulation by the outdoor advertisement, shops, kiosks restaurants etc

From the above enumerations, it is clear that our local governments are

hardly performing as the engine rooms of economic development because they are not better than salary paying institutions only, with most of their functions neglected and or appropriated by the state.

How has the various State governments undermined its functions and performances since its recognition by the 1979 constitution, for the first time as the 4th arm of government?

The failures of the Local Government Councils have been blamed on the state governments for two main reasons:

The state governments have denied the councils their allocations through the misappropriation of their funding.

Secondly the state government has interfered with their functions in the state.

For instance a lot of people have complained about the refuse disposal problems in their states, associated with stockpile of refuse on city streets, blocking drainages and inhibiting human and vehicular traffic. They have blamed the state governments without realizing that matters like refuse disposal were left to the local government councils under the constitution.

In fact, the interferences with the funding of the local government had in turn hindered them from carrying out these services to our communities which include amongst other things, the development of markets, commercial outlets and refuse disposal. The level of encroachment of state governments on the roles of local government councils has denied these councils expected revenue generations on taxes concerning refuse disposal etc.

This however raises a question of law, whether any other function not spelt out by the constitution can be performed by the local governments beyond the enumerated list?

___________________________

Barr. Paschal Nwosu
hellonnwosu@yahoo.com
Tel/SMS 08067181146

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USAID begins Covid-19 testing in Imo rural areas

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USAID averts 25,000 unwanted pregnancies in Ebonyi, Kogi

…Umuagwo Varsity of Agric kicks-off October

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has begun Covid-19 testing in the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State, “in a bid to reduce the impact of community spread of the virus in the rural areas of the state.

The Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba disclosed this in Owerri while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the Weekly Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday.

Chief Emelumba said so far, the USAID officials have carried out reasonable number of testing in Njaba LGA and reported that all those tested came out negative and that the council prayed that the result from other Local Government Areas will be the same.

He announced that the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the take off of the Imo State University for Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Umuagwo in October this year.

According to him, the approval underscores the efforts which the Imo State Government ably led by Governor Hope Uzodinma has made towards the establishment of a second university for the state.

Recently, the NUC panel was in Imo State to carry out the necessary verification exercises on the state facilities, human and physical infrastructures.

Mr. Declan Emelumba, who was flanked by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Bernard Ikegwuoha, Commissioner for Health Dr. Damaris Osunkwo and the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku, informed that the Executive Council is happy that something new is happening in the Education Sector of the State.

Emelumba said that the Imo State University of Science and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo will take off by October when other universities would be resuming for a new academic session.

In the same vein, the Council has approved the immediate relocation of Faculty of Engineering Imo State University Owerri to its permanent site at Okigwe, stressing that Government has put all processes and facilities on ground to ensure the immediate take–off of the faculty.

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM  Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

The Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku has visited Mr. Ogechi Iwu, a journalist with Osiza FM.

The media man is hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri over complications from diabetes that led to his right leg being amputated.

Mr. Nwachuku said the visit was to show solidarity on behalf of Governor Uzodimma to his professional colleague, assuring him of their prayers, particularly that of his principal, and the prayers of Mr. Iwu’s numerous friends and well wishers who are touched by his plight.

“I am here on behalf of my principal to associate with him in this time of health challenge and to encourage him not to see the sickness as a death sentence.”

Oge Iwu at fmc

L-R: Chief Akaraonye, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku with Ogechi Iwu during the visit

Mr. Nwachuku urged Mr. Iwu to continue in the high spirit he saw him and trust God for his total recovery “because healing is a thing of mind and when a sick person is in high spirit the patient gets recovered quickly.”

The spokesman of the Governor promised to bring the plight of the journalist to the attention of his principal, and assured that the Governor will, in his usual manner of one with milk of human sympathy, show concern over Iwu’s plight.

Earlier, Mr. Iwu thanked the CPS/Media Adviser, the State Chairman of NUJ, Imo State, Chief Christopher Akaraonye and other journalists who were on the entourage, for coming to identify with him on his sick bed, and assured that God in his infinite mercy will quicken his recovery.

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has inaugurated a new Governing Council, for the Imo State University, IMSU, Owerri.

At the inauguration ceremony on Monday, August 31, the governor named Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji as the Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the University.

Other members of the Council include: Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, Chief Tony Ezenna, Prof. (Ven.) Chinedu Nebo, Sir. Louis Ezeigwe, Chief Engr. Ernest Nwapa, Dr. (Mrs.) Uwandu Uzoma, Ugoeze Victoria Adaku Ekezie, Prof. Adaobi Obasi (Vice Chancellor) and others.

Speaking at the inauguration, Governor Uzodimma said the choice of the members is to infuse fresh air into the university because “It is in dire need to bounce back to reckoning.”
He added that the choice of the members was because they have carved a niche for themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour and that they have earned solid reputation as men and women of substance in their individual trade, indices that qualified them for the appointment.

He challenged the members to bring their reputation to bear on the University, bearing in mind the task for good quality scholarship in Imo State University as well as service to humanity.

The Governor urged the members to deploy their individual accomplishments, excellence, expertise, passion for service as effectively as necessary to actualize the dream of his administration of having a highly reputable University comparable to the best Universities in the World.

He also requested the Council to “restore in words and deeds the motto of Imo State University, which is Excellence in Service”.

“Imo State University currently is a classical example of a failed University,” Governor Uzodimma said but strongly believed that “with a star studded Governing Council such as the one inaugurated there is no doubt that Imo is on the track to realize the dreams of her founding fathers.”

He further enjoined the Council members to quickly hit the ground running and come up with policies and programmes that will reassure Imo people that the University that made them proud 20 years back is on track as he assured them of Government partnership in this regard.

In an acceptance speech, on behalf of the Council, the Chairman, Most Rev. Ugorji who is the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia thanked the Governor for the absolute confidence reposed in them by giving them the assignment and acknowledged that though the task is daunting he has a strong belief that with the calibre of members of the Council and support of the management, staff and students the University will be returned to a centre of excellence which was the dream of the founding fathers.

He said that Imo State University deserves the best and that he and his members as inaugurated will work acidulously to ensure that the target of the governor in making Imo State University one of the best universities in Africa is realised.

He congratulated fellow members and promised that God’s willing, they will not fail the government and people of Imo State.

Present at the inauguration were the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, and other members of the expanded State Executive Council.

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