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Social Action Calls for Community Development, Service Delivery



By  Emeka Akataobi


Social Development Integrated Center(Social Action) has held a two day Capacity Building Workshop for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and community groups on the need for Community Development and Service Delivery.

A presenter at the meeting, Comrade Bonny Adaeze who presented a paper on understanding Local Government Administration in Nigeria, said there is the need for bottom top approach, participatory development as well as the planning system of government at the local level.

Speaking further he advocated for Local Government Autonomy and the quality of social amenities such as water, health care facilities schools at the local level should be there focus to enable those at the grass roots feel the dividends of democracy.

Dr Harry Udo, another presenter who spoke on the Budget Process and Citizens Engagement at the local government level said there is the need for citizens to get involved in the budgeting process of their communities, influence decision to favour their locality and by discussing what their needs are with government which will in turn be manifested in the lives of the citizens.

The Project Manager Transparency and Accountability Project, Prince Edegbuo in his remark during an interview with press men said the capacity building program is aimed at strengthening the capacity of community groups, CSO, persons leaving with disabilities, youths, women, to engage, demand and advocate for the autonomy of Local government and for effective service delivery of the local government.

His words “Now local government is one of the tiers of government in Nigeria, however because of the activity of the state, it has not been able to function the way it’s supposed to function because somehow the state have so much clause on the functionality of the local government”.

“Am sure your aware that sometimes state government suspended the local government chairman and all that, that is one power that is too much for any one to hold. The President dose not suspend any governor, then no governor has the right to suspend any local government chairman, however, the point is to look at the constitution, expunge those areas that gives the governor and state such powers. We want the situation whereby anything around joint account between state and local government should be expunged. Let Local government be responsible for their funds, deliver development to the people of Nigeria”. He said.

According to him, Local government has its elected councilors that have the capacity to legislate for themselves not the state house of Assembly members.

“Therefore we are talking about full autonomy, autonomy where the local government councilor is responsible for how it uses it funds from federation account, responsible for how it develops its community wants under it, responsible to ensure that everyone in the local government is catered for without the influence of the state or governors”.

“The next is for local government officials themselves, media, we will also have engagements with the National Assembly and the committee in charge of the local government committee, we also have other advocacy engagements, we also empower those who are receiving capacity training now. They will also have their own cluster issues engagement. It could be that a community wants health centre, what the state is proposing is school, that’s why they are been taught need assessment, this need assessment helps you to see the gaps and know which one is the top priority and you present it to those who are in authority to get it done”. He added.

On his part, the groups’ coordinator, Boti Isaac said “We are able to put the activity today firstly we have to recognise the citizens voice in advocating, improve service delivery, accountability and transparency of the local government operation.

“However, in the context of that ,we recognise the voice that will come of the community so the community will go a long way to help us push for some of the advocacy gains we hope to achieve in the cause of this project and that was why we were able to bring together people from community and more importantly when it comes to projecting citizens voice particularly on issue of local government autonomy, local government transparency, accountabilities and so on.”

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