Legislators in all the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas of the State have been admonished to truly represent the interest of their various communities and adhere to the policy thrust of inclusiveness being anchored by the State Government.
Speaking at the two-day training for Councilors and Council Clerks held in Alausa, Ikeja, the Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Mr. Muslim Folami said that the training was initiated to update participants with relevant laws and reforms of the Federal and State governments as well as their application at the grassroots level.
Folami added that the training would facilitate the application of the provisions of extant laws, rules and regulations as well as guidelines in the day to day administration of the Councils in order to key into the vision of the State government.
In his words, “you will recall that this type of training was organised for Chairmen and the Public Officials of the Councils after their swearing in aselected representatives of the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas last year to encourage the smooth flow of shared personal and professional experiences between career and elected officials in order to enhance the smooth running of the Councils”.
According to Folami, the training brought about positive outcomes as both the career and elected officials of the various Councils are now working in harmony and are also kept abreast of the policies of the State Government.
He expressed the hope that at the end of the training, participants would have been further equipped with adequate knowledge to perform in their various Councils and discharge their roles as expected.
The Commissioner charged the participants to see their positions as an opportunity to make impactful development for the benefit of Lagos, seeking that a stronger chord should be built to affect the lives of residents in their neighbourhood.
Also speaking at the event, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Fola Padonu said that the training will educate the participants on basic legislative laws and orders that govern the Local Governments.
He said that “As the third tier of government that is nearest to the people, legislation must be people-oriented and authentic in order to achieve maximum benefit and development in the various LGAs/LCDAs.
While delivering the first paper at the event titled – “An Overview of Local Government in the State: Prospects and Challenges”, the Chairman, Local Government Service Commission, Alhaji Babatunde Rotinwa stated that local governments must function effectively, play significant roles in the socio-economic development at the grassroots and also promote democracy at the local level.
Rotinwa expressed the desire to see some maturity in the leadership at the helm of affairs in local governments, especially in their ability to deliver services, mobilise human, material and financial resources as well as exercise authority as an autonomous arm of the government.
Another lecturer at the workshop, Prof. Brown Onuoha of the University of Lagos spoke on “Understanding the Rudiments of Legislative Functions & Power of Legislative Councils”, saying that one of the benefits of democratic governance is the encouragement of citizens’ participation in decision-making at the grassroots level.
He urged representatives from the ward to local government levels to take a keen interest in identifying the needs of their constituents at the grassroots, explaining that the functions of these council/ward representatives, as provided in the constitution, are very important in measuring the success or failure of democracy at the State level.