The Parliament Diary


Since 2015, the call to restructure Nigeria, have dominated the media space and public fora, with most of the arguments centered on ceding more powers to the States and reducing perceived concentration of power at the Centre (i.e the Federal Government).

The debate is often championed by ethno-religious leaders and politicians, who may have lost out in the power equation at the Federal level. Interestingly, little or nothing is said about the role of Local Government Councils in the growing call to restructure the country, even though advocates of restructuring, acknowledge that the heightening insecurity and poverty rate, are associated with near-zero government presence/impact at the grassroots. The 1999 Constitution as amended, technically placed the Local Government Councils under the Sub Nationals (States) despite the general misconception that Local Government Councils in the country, form the third tier of government. This position would not go down well with many analysts and political jobbers, because of what they benefit from the present contradiction, but the way and manner recruitment and posting of Civil Servants at the Local Government Councils as well as the emergence of the Political Class at that level, arguably tells the story of how State Governors (Governments) control Local Government Councils in Nigeria. Take it or leave it, the much needed even development and genuine desire to address issues of insecurity across the country, would remain a pipe dream, if the administration of Local Government Councils remain the way it is or further paralyzed under what many people are proposing as restructuring (i.e. further strengthening the States and decimating the Local Government Councils).

The Real restructuring Nigeria needs going forward, is a two-tier government, vis-à-vis Federal and Local Governments.

Unlike the existing three-tier arrangement, which makes the Local Government Councils ineffective, a two level administrative structure of Federal and Local Government Councils, would address the following:

  • Reduce the Cost of Governance. Because the humongous resources expended on the Executive and Legislature at the State level, will be better channeled for gainful purposes at the grassroots.
  • Takes care of fears of the Minority Ethnic groups in the country. It can be argued, but there is hardly any tribe in Nigeria, without some element of political dominance or control of at –least one Local Government Council in Nigeria. What this implies is that if each of the 774 Local Government Councils in Nigeria gets what is due to them (financially) directly from the Federation Account, the indigenous political leadership, alongside the civil service class, would have no other option, than to judiciously deploy the resources to the benefit of their people, so as to avoid unpalatable situation.
  • constitutionally backed direct dealings between the Federal Government and Local Government Councils, would go a long way to actualize the much talked about Effective Community Policing, with its resulting improved security and also enhance grassroots development.

In Summary, rather than give more powers to States, with little or no positive effect on the grassroots, the Restructuring the country needs, is a Constitutionally backed two-tier government of Federal and Local Government Councils. This would address underdevelopment and growing insecurity.


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