Tuesday, January 3, 2012

When last did you talk to your local government chairman?

I sincerely hope the social media structures currently being used to fight the fuel subsidy removal is retained after this fight might have finished to be used in demanding transparency in governance right from the local government level to the Federal Government level. The truth is that despite Nigeria being a Federation, citizens seem to care more about what happens at the Federal level than what happens at their local governments. Many people blame the Federal government for the bad roads leading to their houses yet do not know the name of their local government chairman or even their councillor or rep and senator at the house of assembly and their responsibilities.
Yet states and local governments receive billions on a monthly basis from the federation allocation accounts. Some states and local governments get more money that even some African countries get in a year. The Federal Ministry of Finance publishes on a monthly basis the amounts received by states and local governments but i doubt how many of us on FB has ever bordered to find out how much our local government got last month.
we all have been excited by the figures that the Presidency is going to spend billions on food but how many of us have bordered to find out how much our governor and local government chairman is going to spend on food in their 2012 budget. The Federal government gives a budget break down every year giving a breakdown of every kobo it is going to spend, how many governors and local government chairman do similar breakdowns? The National Assembly is getting N150 billion this year without telling us what it is going to be used for.
The Federal government has a released a detailed breakdown of what it is going to use its share of N479 billion earned from the fuel subsidy removal for. The State governors are going to get N411 billion while the local governments are going to get N203 billion. I do not know of any state government or local government that has given a similar breakdown. Yet they are getting almost twice what the Federal government is getting. Holding the states government accountable will save us N604 billion. Holding the FG accountable will save us N479 billion. We have a greater stake in making the local governments accountable than the Federal government. They get the lion share of monthly allocation yet they perform the least.
For example, Akwa Ibom is going to get N43 billion from the fuel subsidy removal alone, this is in addiotion to its usual alocation. Bayelsa is going to get N34 billion in addition to its usual allocation while Delta state is going to get N41 billion.
At the local government level, local governments in Akwa Ibom are getting N7 billion, local governments in Borno will get N7 billion while local governments in Kano are getting as much as N11 billion. If each governor and local government chairman were to use this money to construct a major high way in their state or local government, we all know the impact this will have on development generally. But this will not happen becuase we are all focused on what the Federal government does while we are robbed blind under our very nose.
We will not change Nigeria by fighting fuel subsidy removal (which i think should be removed in the first place), but we will change Nigeria if we start holding our councillors, who usuallly leave next door, our local government chairmen, our reps in the House and Senate and finally our governors responsible in addition to the President. I hope we can use the current social media structure to make this possible. Only then can we truly seek to change Nigeria for the better.

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