37 LCDA ARIAS
JUSTIFICATIONS AND PERFORMANCE: Thirteen Year Review
Lagos State was created on May 27, 1967 according to the State Creation and Transitional Provisions Decree No. 14 of 1967, which restructured Nigeria into a Federation of 12 states. Lagos state was created with 20 local government areas earmarked and operational till 2003 when the government of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu created 37 additional Local Council Development Areas. Fully endorsed by the Lagos State Assembly, it was unacceptable to the PDP-led majority in the National Assembly for ratification irrespective of the rightness of the attendant procedural modalities.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Supreme Court did not say the creation of 37 additional councils in Lagos was unconstitutional and illegal, it merely said the creation was incomplete because the National Assembly is yet to carry out its own part.
The dogged posture of Governor Asiwaju Tinubu rankled President Olusegun Obasanjo who showed his displeasure and disapproval by withholding the Lagos State’s subvention till the end of his second term. President Yar’Adua reverted the order of Obasanjo regarding remittance of the subvention but followed up with request for Governor Fashola to revert to the original 20 local government areas which was refused on account of belief in the logic of their creation.
Asiwaju Tinubu’s vivid vision for broadening of grassroots government to deliver the dividends of democracy across the state was not scuttled by financial resource squeeze by OBJ. The determination and zeal of Asiwaju Tinubu to make a success of the 37 LCDAs was underscored by improved internally generated resources to fund purposeful development.
Let it be acknowledged that the financial austerity experienced by Lagos State sequel to the seizure of the monthly federal allocation (on account of creation of the LCDA) was a blessing in disguise because it compelled the government then to cultivate fiscal discipline which is now the style of governance by successive governments of the state. As things stand now, Lagos State is the ever buoyant state in Nigeria.
Since creation, the 20 LGAs and 37LCDAs have served as conduit for uniform resource allocation state-wide. Government that is close to the people is clearly more effective to spread amenities and infrastructure equitably across board .The Local Council Development Areas have become the minimum unit for resource allocation instead of the hitherto large Local Government Area.
This has translated to more schools, more primary health care centres, more road networks, improved environmental sanitation and security because resource-spread must be fairly done with all communities in mind. The velocity of developmental strides amongst the LCDAs has been impressive because peer review has triggered developmental competition at the local level in the interest of the mass of the population.
Aside from amenities and facilities, the LCDAs have catalyzed economic activities of our people and have also increased their political awareness to demand for their rights and to take advantage of opportunities and privileges. Increased civic consciousness amongst the people facilitates government’s responsiveness to sustainable development. This has been a noticeable fact throughout the state.
In fairness to the founding father of the LCDAs – Asiwaju Tinubu – 13 years after their creation, one can objectively claim they have aptly served as the effective vehicle for grassroots to experience meaningful development in a timely manner. The recent 114 roads is a testimony of evenly spread.