Retirees, not youths should be made LG chairmen, counsellors – Varsity Don
Professor Etim Frank, an associate Professor of Political-Administrative Theory, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State has said local government administration should be handled by retirees due to their wealth of experience and not by youths who he described as ‘novices.’
Professor Frank also called for the review of some obsolete local government policies to meet with current realities.
The University Don stated this during a two-day capacity-building training for young people organized by Clement Isong Foundation in collaboration with Actionaid Nigeria in Uyo with the theme: ”public finance, political education, and gender-responsive in public service.”
He explained that retirees were better persons to handle local government administration because of years of experience in terms of financial management.
Speaking on local government autonomy, Prof Frank said it does not only require bringing the physical resources from the federal government to the local government but a total financial independence.
In his words, “so many people have narrow perceptions of autonomy. It is not solely about giving financial independence to local governments. I must state it here that most local government Chairmen do not have administrative experience. Now, for such a fellow, bundles of money come to him, he will run mad.
“Right from Aristotle and Plato, and I stand with them and I stand with them that young people are given to their passion and not to administration, so young people should not be local government chairman. It is my theory of local government.
“For me, retired persons should be made local government chairmen and counsellors because they have seen it all.
“The biggest problem of local government is leadership, the political class appoints people there and the bulk of people appointed are fresh from school, have not worked anywhere, and have not had any administrative experience anywhere.
“They don’t even have experience on how to manage human and material resources to get a result. So, why did you put a novice there? They put a novice so that they can continue to control and dictate to him. It is a challenge.”
He said beyond its administration, local government functions which were established in 1978 are outdated and need to be reviewed to match the current reality.
“What we have as local function is that they should collect on a bicycle, cart (wheelbarrow), canoe… who is driving bicycle now? So, if you zero that one in as a function of local government, you are making it moribund.
“The fourth schedule of the constitution also said that LG should be responsible for the road. Which road? which local government can construct a road? Road construction costs much, how much does local government generate? So, a road that is mentioned there must be defined.
“The state government has encroached so much on the jurisdiction of LG, taking over all the authorities in the concurrent list.
“Most of the local government can not generate enough revenue for themselves and so, most of the functions outline there like, cemetery, people are buried in the house, how much do you make from maintaining cemetery? How much do you make for maintaining slaughter slab in the market?
“So these are functions that ought to be reviewed if we must go forward. Those functions assigned to local government since 1976, how many years now? need to be reviewed we are long gone,” he noted.
Also speaking, the Director of the foundation, Mr. Elkanah Oluyori said the reason the programme focused on young persons is to enlighten them on the power they have to be able to make good political decisions for positive change in society.