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Local Government Autonomy As Panacea for National Development (Pt. 2)



By Chief Mike Ozekhome


Last week, we started this vexed issue on the existing lingering fear of an autonomy of the local government in Nigeria. However, over time, the performances of these local governments in Nigeria have always been characterized by some serious challenges. These include funding, lack of autonomy, infrastructural decay, political instability, constitutional problems, etc. The principle of autonomy is an important issue for local governments because they cannot function efficiently without appreciable elements of autonomy. Today, we shall continue our discourse.


The development of the local government system in Nigeria has observed four stages. The first is the traditional administrative system of the colonial era which existed from 1903 to the 1950s. The second is the more liberal and participatory approach to local governance introduced in the 1950s. The third stage was necessitated with the advent of military rule, which replaced the model of grassroots participatory democracy with military centralisation and a ‘unity of command’ scheme, while the fourth involves the comprehensive reform of local government administration in 1976, which restored participatory democracy values. The impact of military era and that of the 1976 reform are still felt in Nigeria; the centralisation between the federal government and local government under military rule is still evident in their relationship while the 1976 reform of local government continues to shape subsequent discourse and reforms.


The development of Nigeria’s local government system can be traced to the Native Authority Ordinance of 1916, passed by the British colonial government to leverage the existing traditional administrative systems in Nigeria. The Ordinance, although the first legal framework to operationalize a system of indirect rule, was met with resistance from the East and West regions. The Ordinance however survived till 1946, when the Richardson Constitution introduced the new regional assemblies. In 1949, the Eastern House of Assembly provided a platform for debates that eventually led to the Local Government Ordinance of 1950, which provided for a democratic local government. Although introducing values of democracy in local governance, the 1950 Ordinance highlighted dominance of Federal and State governments over local government administration, which has endured through the post-colonial era to contemporary Nigeria.


The modern trend of local government in Nigeria begun with the reform of local government in 1976. This reform aimed to restructure and modernize local government administration by extending the principle of federation through bringing government to the grassroots level, and to achieve uniformity of local government administration across the federation. This was the first time a single system of local government was attained in Nigeria. To promote the independence and autonomy of these local governments, the reform operated to allow local government officers and local politicians to operate with little or no interference in their daily affairs. State ministries only had supervisory, advisory and assistant roles, but not that of control.

The 1976 reforms were argued on several platforms, including to institute an enduring viable Local Government Council System; creation of a system that could serve as a catalyst for the development of the areas involved; create a uniform local government structure through a one-tier system; insulate the exalted and respected position of traditional rulers from the vagaries of partisan politics; need to guide against the situation where “The state governments have continued to encroach upon what would normally have been the exclusive preserve of the Local Government”.

The financial system was also restructured, introducing statutory allocations of revenue from the Federation Account, with fixed proportions of federal and each state’s revenue given to local government. It also sought to protect local government revenue from state encroachment. The 1979 Constitution allowed for local government to receive federal allocations, and in Section 149, prescribed for States to provide funds for local governments in their areas.

The 1979 Constitution provided the legal framework for the implementation of the 1976 reforms. The primary goal was to ensure that every state government should, by law, provide for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of local councils. Once again, the autonomy of local governments was at the discretion of their state counterparts.

The Dansuki Report of 1984 added significant impact to the 1976 reforms, by corroborating the incessant reforms on local governments in Nigeria. It made for several developments, including scrapping of state Ministries of Local Government; creating a policy of direct disbursement of statutory allocations; creation of additional 149 local government areas; creating a new allocation formula, which gave 15% to Local Government; transfer of the primary health care program to the local government; transfer of primary school administration to local government; separation of power at the local government; appointment of political secretaries at the local government level; abolition of local government service commission and its subsequent reinstatement; presidentialization of local government as well as administration and financial autonomy granted to the local government, etc.


The Military government reformed the local government in 1988 by introducing civil service reforms. These created mandatory departments (personnel, finance, supply etc), officers (councilors, secretary, treasurer, auditor-general for local government) and the Local Government Service Commission in an attempt to professionalize local governments.


The 1999 Constitution takes almost the same position on local government as the 1979 constitution, with some modifications. In its fourth schedule, Section 7(2) of the CFRN, 1999, sets out the functions of local governments in Nigeria, thereby recognizing local government as a unit of government with defined powers and authority, and relative autonomy. The functional areas for local government included in the Constitution include provision and maintenance of health services; agricultural and national resource development; provision and maintenance of primary, adult and vocational education; and other functions as may be conferred on it by the State House of Assembly. Section 7(1) also guarantees democratically elected governments in Nigeria. On the strength of these provisions, the 1999 Constitution acknowledges the powers of local government councils as articulated in the 1976 local government reform.

Section 162 (5), (6), (7) and (8) also provides for the funding of local councils through the Federation Account. Paragraph 6 specifically provides that “each state shall maintain a special account to be called the State Joint Local Government Account” into which should be paid all allocations made to local government councils from the Federation Account and from the government of the state. This is, of course, a reversal of the reform introduced by the federal government in 1988. In addition, the 1999 constitution states that “the government of every state shall, subject to Section 8 of the Constitution, ensure their existence under a law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such [local government] council”. These are some of the provisions that constitute the legal framework for local government administration in Nigeria.


In Nigeria, the Executive arm of government is divided into the Federal Government at the centre, the Federal Capital Territory, 36 state governments, and 774 Local Governments. Inherently, the local government is the third tier of the Executive arm of government. It is the grass root and the lowest level of administration in a federal system of government as adopted in Nigeria. The main purpose of local government administration, amongst other things, is to mend the bridge between the government and the people, providing for the needs of the people at the grassroots, the lowest, tiniest level in the society. Local governments generally act only within powers specifically delegated to them by law and/or directives of a higher level of government (Federal and State governments). Local governments therefore have no autonomy, making their decisions and operations subject to a higher authority. Consequently, they offer little or nothing to the national development of our country, Nigeria.

There have been varying interpretations of the constitutional status of Local Government as the third tier of the federation. Although the 1976 reform of local government system attempted to clarify this, it did not provide the legal framework to underpin any fundamental restructuring.

In Nigeria, the local government is established under section 3(6) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (“1999 Constitution”, “CFRN, 1999”) which states that:
“There shall be 768 Local Government Areas in Nigeria as shown in the second column of Part I of the First Schedule to this Constitution and six area councils as shown in Part II of that Schedule”.

Section 7(1) of the 1999 Constitution further provides that:

“The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this constitution guaranteed; and accordingly, the government of every state shall, subject to section 8 of this constitution, ensure their existence under a law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils”.

Consequently, each of the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Nigeria is being administered by a Local Government Council consisting of a Chairman, who is the Chief Executive, and other elected members referred to as Councilors. Each LGA is further subdivided into a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 20 Wards, administered by a Counselor who reports directly to the LGA Chairman.


The major reason for the three- tiers of government, as provided by the 1999 constitution of Nigeria, is because Nigeria practises a decentralized form of government whereby power is devolved from the centre to governments at the states and local governments for effective governance and enhanced national development. National development entails having functional infrastructures which contribute positively to the socio-economic living standard of the people living in a nation where it is very difficult for a central government to run a whole country; especially if the country covers a very large expanse of land, like Nigeria.

With the local governments situated at the lowest level of the government, they are expected to give the government ample opportunity to reach the nooks and crannies of the society and attend to the needs of the people. In accordance with the Constitution, some of the functions of Local Governments include the economic development of the State, particularly in so far as the areas of authority of the council and of the State are affected; the construction and maintenance of roads; the provision and maintenance of primary, adult and vocational education; registration of all births, deaths and marriages; provision for schools, financial powers, etc.

The functions of Local Government Councils are not necessarily limited to the functions stated above, as every State is permitted to prescribe additional functions for the Local Government Councils via legislation. (To be continued).


There are two sides to every coin. Life itself contains not only the good, but also the bad and the ugly. Let us now explore these.

“If you see a bricklayer drinking beer in the afternoon, just know immediately that one bag of cement is missing”. – Anonymous.


“The most powerful thing we can do is get involved locally. Help our local community and become community activists in our own smaller circle” (Gavin Creel).

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Voice of Emancipation: Nigeria’s New President




By Kayode Emola

In less than 48 hours Nigeria will welcome a new President, charged with handling its affairs for the next four years. Yet among the many challenges awaiting the new president, whether Nigeria itself can even survive another four years remains to be seen. There is no doubt that the Tinubu/Shettima presidency will need more than courage to keep Nigeria united for the full duration of their elected term.

Only time will tell whether Tinubu and Shettima will be sworn in come May 29, or whether we will instead have an interim government. However, one thing of which we are certain is that the era of Muhammad Buhari is over, never to be experienced again. Those who have survived living under Buhari’s misrule in Nigeria for the last eight years deserve an award for endurance.

We must not allow the expected swearing-in of a Yoruba man as Nigeria’s president on Monday 29 to make us complacent. Indeed, my Yoruba people, our task has just doubled.

Nigeria’s future is now looking more imperiled than ever before. The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) are already threatening to declare their own independent Biafra nation if Tinubu is sworn in come May 29. And the Biafra campaigners are not the only disgruntled people within the country. The vast majority of our Yoruba people and even the Hausa people are becoming embittered with the trajectory Nigeria has taken since independence. At this point now, the new president must decide if Nigeria will continue as it is, or ask the indigenous people to decide their future.

It is increasingly evident that Nigeria is not a sustainable venture, and that a trading post cannot become a country that can endure the test of time. The people within Nigeria never decided to unite and become a country, so trying to hold them to ransom can never succeed.

I will therefore urge the incoming president to rethink his policies if he has not thought about a peaceful way in which Nigeria’s dissolution can be established. Powering through and hoping that he can hold Nigeria together like his predecessor Buhari did will definitely not stand the test of time.

To my fellow Yoruba people who are singing hallelujah that a Yoruba man is going to be president. I want us to know that just as Buhari is leaving the Presidential seat come Monday 29, Tinubu will also not be president for life. When he leaves what will be the fate of the Yoruba people or the other nationalities that makes up Nigeria.

At this juncture in our history, it would be the time to give the indigenous peoples of Nigerians the opportunity to determine their future in a constitutional conference. Nigeria has gone past its due date and must now be prepared for decommissioning just like several countries such as Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, etc has done in the past. If not, a dysfunctional disengagement may lead to utter chaos if not another civil considering the damage the country is currently doing to the lives of millions of frustrated youths. The rate of poverty is not abating with the currency being devalued on a daily basis putting more strain on the people’s finances

The handlers of Nigeria must acknowledge that the unitary system being practiced in Nigeria has utterly failed the people. The people must now be handed a lifeline in order to salvage a future for themselves and their future generations. Anything short of that may mean Nigeria may go the way other African countries such as Somalia and South Sudan etc have divided with years of bitter civil war which has resulted in the loss of millions of innocent lives.

Yoruba people should not shout ‘Uhuru’ yet because one of us is sitting in ‘Aso rock’. If history has thought us anything, whoever becomes president of Nigeria is there for themselves and not necessarily representing their constituents. That Tinubu will be president does not stop the call for an independent Yoruba nation, if anything, the call for an independent Yoruba nation should now become louder and clearer to send a strong signal to the local and international communities that the Yoruba people have finally made up their mind to leave Nigeria.

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DNV: Namibia Welcomes First Digital Nomads




By Dolapo Aina

According to Citizen Remote, “A digital nomad visa is a temporary permit that allows visitors to stay in a country while they work remotely. Multiple countries offer these sorts of visas, and most of them have a duration of twelve months, with the possibility to extend your stay. While they may not be for everyone, a digital nomad visa allows many remote workers to travel the world while they work from the comfort of their computers. They also help the countries impulse their economy by having foreigners stay for extended periods.”

Several benefits and fallouts of having digital nomads in a country include but not limited to positive country branding by the digital nomads who are residents in their host country. Digital nomads tend to amplify messages the host country might have been trying to get across to potential travellers. On the African Continent, only a few countries have latched on to Digital Nomads and Digital Nomad visas (and it is noteworthy to state that some African countries might not term it Digital Nomad Visas but have something in that guise.)

Since the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant fallouts, digital nomads and remote work have increased exponentially globally and in Africa particularly.

According to the Harvard School of Business, with the global shift towards remote work over the past three years, approximately forty-seven countries have developed digital nomad visa programmes. On the African Continent, a few countries offer Digital Nomad Visa. These countries are and in no particular order: Cape Verde, Mauritius, Namibia and Seychelles. Other countries on the African Continent have something within this category but officially, it is designated as Digital Nomad Visa.

On Tuesday, 9th of May 2023, Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board announced and welcomed Namibia’s first Digital Nomads.

According to a statement signed by Ms. Catherine Shipushu, who is the senior manager: Marketing, Branding and Communications of Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, “Namibia officially recorded her first digital nomads just five months after the official launch of the country’s Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) on 11 October 2022. The programme was launched by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration and Security (MHAISS) and the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), with the aim of enhancing economic activity in the country. The first two digital nomad visa applications were approved on Tuesday, 14 February 2023.”

The statement further revealed that the Digital Nomad Visa programme aims to capitalise on the growing global remote workforce by offering location-independent foreign professionals the chance to live, work, and experience Namibia for up to six months. These digital nomads contribute towards the country’s economy by injecting foreign currency in the ecosystem, but without usurping jobs meant for Namibians. Early results are encouraging, with over 121 enquiries about the programme recorded so far. Of this number a total of 20 applications were received, out of which nine were approved, with five rejections. The reasons for rejection were made known to include; applicants who do not meet the income requirements of two thousand dollars per month, and are thus unable to prove that they can effectively sustain themselves while in Namibia. Other applications were rejected because they were submitted while the applicants were already in Namibia on a different legal status such as a Tourist Visa, or they arrived in the country before approval of their application.

According to Ms. Catherine Shipushu; “The launch of the Digital Nomad Visa earned Namibia international praise, from Cape Town to Germany and as far as Australia. Additionally, we have witnessed a surge in queries and applications for the DNV through our website, further demonstrating the growing global interest. This demonstrates Namibia’s potential to harness the digital nomad trend and create new opportunities for local businesses in the tourism and information and communication technologies support sectors. As an effective marketing tool for Namibia, the DNV program has also created visibility through digital nomads documenting and sharing their experiences on social media and other mass media platforms, showcasing the nation’s natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and hospitality. This increased visibility has the potential to help attract more tourists, investors, and talent, further stimulating the nation’s economic growth and development.”

It is said that, by design, the Digital Nomad Visa complements, rather than competes with, the local workforce, ensuring digital nomads bring their own remote jobs or freelance projects to Namibia. This approach benefits the Namibian economy and its people while creating an environment for local entrepreneurs and professionals to expand their networks, learn from their international counterparts, and explore new avenues for collaboration.

Dolapo Aina reached out to Ms. Catherine Shipushu (senior manager: Marketing, Branding and Communications of Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, in the Office of The Presidency) for more clarifications and insights.

On the abovementioned statement that the digital nomads contribute towards the country’s economy by injecting foreign currency in the ecosystem, I asked if this is the only criteria being looked at? What about those nomads who can attract global attention and global traffic into Namibia? How do you factor that into the policy? Ms. Catherine Shipushu stated that, “The Namibia Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) serves a dual purpose in enhancing the country’s economy. Firstly, it allows digital nomads to inject foreign currency into the ecosystem, contributing to economic activities and growth. Additionally, the DNV harnesses the power of digital nomads as ambassadors for Namibia. Through their documentation and sharing of experiences on social media and other platforms, they become valuable marketing assets, attracting global attention and generating publicity for the country. As part of our marketing campaign, we have engaged digital nomads, who are currently in Namibia, to share their unique perspectives and experiences, aiming to inspire and attract more digital nomads to choose Namibia as their preferred “work” destination. By leveraging their presence and influence, we strive to create a ripple effect of positive exposure and interest in Namibia, ultimately benefiting the local economy and fostering collaboration between local and international professionals.”

On the two thousand dollars per month projection, I asked if this was targeted at only Western nomads only or global nomads including African nomads who might not have the same financial muscle as their Western counterparts? And would this amount be reduced anytime soon? Ms. Catherine Shipushu stated that, “The requirement of USD 2,000 per month for the Namibia Digital Nomad Visa is not targeted exclusively at Western nomads. The income requirement serves as a benchmark to ensure that digital nomads, regardless of their nationality, have the financial means to sustain themselves comfortably in Namibia. The aim is to provide a positive experience for digital nomads and contribute to the local economy. The income requirement is based on the cost of living in Namibia and takes into account expenses such as accommodation, transportation, food and other essentials. The Namibian government understands the diverse backgrounds of digital nomads and aims to create an inclusive environment that welcomes global nomads, including those from Africa and other parts of the world, while maintaining a reasonable financial stability requirement. As with any programme, there is a possibility of periodic evaluation and adjustments based on feedback and the evolving circumstances.”

The launch of Namibia’s Digital Nomad Visa programme is a bold and strategic move that positions the country as a prime destination for remote workers from around the world. By embracing this global trend and offering a world-class visa program, Namibia stands to reap substantial economic, social, and cultural benefits.

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Adding Value

Adding Value: Understanding Oneself: Foundation to Success by Henry Ukazu




Dear Destiny Friends,

“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom” – Socrates

Please permit me to begin this article by asking a simple question. Who are you? By this, I mean what you stand for or represent and not what the world thinks of you. It is instructive to note that what the world thinks of you is your reputation, but your character is who you really are.

If an employer wants to know more about a prospective employee, they can ask an open-ended question such as how would you describe yourself in one sentence? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Have you ever experienced a challenge or problem at work? If yes, how did you handle it? All these questions are structured to inquire more about the personality of the employee.

One of the best things anyone can do in life is not only to understand who they are, but also understand what they represent. It will be hard to know what you represent if you don’t understand who you are. If you don’t understand yourself, it will be difficult to understand other people.

According to Forbes, only 15% of the world are self-aware. One begins to wonder, what about the remaining 85%. As a transformational Human Capacity Coach, my company is focused on helping people unleash their potential. To do this, we use our self-discovery and mindset training manual to know more about them by giving them a set of self awareness questions which they are required to answer to the best of their knowledge. It is rather unfortunate that a lot of people don’t know themselves. They just exist as opposed to living.

Self-discovery is truly lacking in our society. When you truly know yourself, you will know your strengths and weaknesses. When you know yourself, you will know your boundaries as regards what to accept from people and where to draw the lines; you will know your personality traits; you will have a clearer understanding of your career path in your professional life; you will know how to interact with people; you will know your core values; you will have a clearer version of your life purpose; and you will be self-motivated. The list is literally endless.

In the journey of life, we engage in a lot of activities we are not supposed to be engaged in. For example, we study courses we are not wired or love to study, and this makes understanding difficult. Some of us apply for jobs we are not passionate about just to pay bills. Some of us even marry partners we don’t really like due to circumstances. Again, the list is endless. All these can lead to frustration and depression if not properly managed. If only we can take a deep breath and ask ourselves some deep thought-provoking questions on what we really want in life, and the reason we are doing what we are doing, the result will be different.

There are many ways to understand oneself. You can understand yourself by staying silent, reflecting about, and observing your life. These acts will help you to practice self-awareness which will ultimately help you to look inward and enable you to understand your feelings, emotions, and your personality. Self knowledge will enable you to know your values, interests, temperament, life mission, and activities to engage in.

As human beings, one thing we should constantly engage in is learning new things about ourselves on a daily basis. Knowing oneself takes time. However, due to desperation, most people don’t practice the art of stillness. When you take time to understand what’s involved in a particular work, it will be easy to solve it in a more efficient and effective manner. There is a story told of a philosopher, who fell into a ditch in front of him because he was too busy to see what was ahead of him.

Again, let’s take the case of Japan with about one hundred and twenty-five million people, which is one of the most industrialized countries on the planet, yet it maintains a level of calm despite the busy nature of the country.

The benefits of knowing oneself is priceless. It will make you confident which will ultimately eliminate self-doubt. It will help you build better and healthy health relationships by attracting the people you need and eliminating people you don’t need. You will be less stressed because you will focus on what’s important as opposed to irrelevant things which will keep your temperament and mindset in good shape.

Self discovery will help you to know your self-worth because no one will price you cheap when you know your value, and you will feel happier.

Furthermore, self knowledge will help you in decision making. When you know yourself, you will be able to make better choices about everything, from minor decisions to major decisions. Your temperament and personality type will be better managed as a leader or rational being.

Self control: When you know yourself, you will better manage yourself. If you can’t manage yourself, it will be hard to manage other people. When you know yourself, you understand what motivates you to resist bad habits and develop good ones. Knowing your strengths is one of the foundations of self confidence.

Resistance to social pressure. Self knowledge helps you to focus on what’s beneficial to you as opposed to other people. According to Bill Cosby, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone. When you are grounded in your values and preferences, you are less likely to say “yes” when you want to say “no.”

In conclusion, take time and reflect on this question, who am I? This is one of the most important questions you will answer in your entire life. When you answer this question, you have solved 50% of your life challenges. If you can’t answer this question, and need assistance, you can use the email below to reach out for assistance.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator.  He’s a Transformative Human Capacity and Mindset coach. He is also a public speaker, youth advocate and creative writer Design Your Destiny and Unleash Your Destiny.  He can be reached via

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