Former Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe says local Government autonomy if properly implemented can help restore the past glory of the third tier of Government which he describes as a shadow of what they used to be.
The former works and Housing minister who recently decamped from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress said Municipal administration no longer offer services they were established to provide.
Speaking exclusively to L G news Academy, Ogunlewe recall that back in the early sixties and seventies, the budget of a local Government council like the Lagos island, was higher than that of some countries. He said councils offered full scholarships to exceptionally gifted pupils and provided first class medical services to the community.
‘The entire city hall building was just a council. I mean the entire building. The council offered a wide range of services. The council had a first class hospital with dedicated medical staffs. They understood what public health is, They visited homes and effected immunisation on babies. The environment was a priority for council. They inspected drainages, ensured the environment is clean and refuse were disposed and carted promptly. Public schools where ran by local Government councils and these schools were some of the best in the state”.
Ogunlewe blame the military for the gradual but steady decline of functions and capacity of councils. ‘they (councils ) cannot even run a primary school properly. Can you send your child to the same primary school your attended? Primary schools pupils cannot even operate a computer and no internet access to schools. The internally generated revenue is nothing to write home about because many revenue sources have been hijacked.
Primary health care is now sub standard. No drugs or medication for patients. I think the military concentrated too much power at the federal and state. They gradually killed the local’. Ogunlewe however commended the federal Government for implementing the direct payment of allocation to council accounts saying it will curb corruption and money finding its way to private pockets.