Author, Others Advocate For Autonomy For LGs In The Country

By Kunle Adelabu

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The Chief Launcher of the book, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu represented by Mrs Essien (m) and the author, Alhaji Babatunde Rotinwa(l) during the public presentation of the book in Ikorodu

The debate for the recognition of the local government system as the third tier of government and an automous entity received a boost recently as stakeholders in the local government administration rekindled the argument.

This was the position of the academics, state and local government functionaries at the formal (public) presentation of the book, “Best Practices I Local Government Administration in Nigeria: A Practitioner’s Perspective” written by the former Head of Service of Lagos State and the current, Lagos State Local Government Service Commission, Alhaji Bbatunde Rotinwa.

At the Musical Village hall, Ikorodu, on Thursday, September 29, 2016, where the author also inaugurated his annual award for excellence in local Government Administration in Lagos State, speaker after speaker took their turn on the podium to speak on the burning issue.

In her opening speech, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, lauded the effort of the author in contributing to the development of the local government administration in the country.

Speaking through her representative, Sen. Tinubu who represents Lagos West Senatorial District at the National Assembly stated that, “the book will provide vital information and education in repositioning the local government administration system for effectiveness in Nigeria.”

Speaking at the event, Alhaji Rotinwa, author of the book said that the book, “is  a way of encouraging the serving officers of the Unified Local Government that they could make a career out of municipal service at a time that Local Government are being denied and suffer a decline in real influence in the development process at grassroots level

“I believe sincerely that any elected and career official who will read and assimilate this book will find it easy to ride along the service delivery requirement for a Municipal Administration. I must emphasize that the focus of my writing the book, has been the Lagos State Local Government Administration,” the author emphasized.

The book reviewer, Prof. Adele Jinadu recommended the book to local government practitioners and generality of Nigerians and called for a strong coalition of networks to make local government system as the third tier of government.

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Alhaja (Chief) Mrs Adeola Agunbiade, (M) the representative of the Wife of Lagos State Governor, Mrs Bolanle Akinwunmi receiving the inaugural Alhaji Babatunde Rotinwa Annual Award for Excellence in LG Administration in Lagos State on behalf of the Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode. Doing the presentation is the Chairman, Lagos State Civil Service Commission and the author, Alhaji Rotinwa

“This is what I have taken away from Alhaji Rotinwa`s thoughtful book. We need to build across the country strong coalitions of networks to push for local government as a third-tier of government to bring democracy and development back to the local government, and in the process strengthen human, financial and physical resource capacity in local government administration. For this reason, the book, “Perspectives on Local Government Administration in Nigeria” is a must read not only for local government practitioners and administrators but also for the generality of Nigerians” Jinadu enjoined Nigerians.

Prof. Adele Jinadu, the book reviewer stated, “The picture that emerges from the book is that of a passionate advocate and defender of Local government as a bottom-up or to use his own more elegant expression, grassroots-based institutional mechanism for nurturing and consolidating a sustainably people-centered and developmental state in our country. Alhaji Rotinwa laments the deepening and sad marginalization of local government in our political and governance process, contrary to constitutional provisions, especially since May 1999.”

To redress the situation, Alhaji Rotinwa provides a framework of indicative pathways in the book for turning local government into a veritable third tier-of government for an effective and transparent and accountable service delivery to Nigerians.

The reviewer also pointed out some answers to some compelling accounts of the challenges that have historically confronted local government in Lagos State. Some of the answers are: inadequate manpower, training and human capacity, lack of community participation, ineffective judicial system, inadequate synergy between the State and Local Government, political interference, cost of governance and assets management.

In her contribution, Dr (Mrs) Idiat Oluranti Adebule, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State who was represented by the Tutor-General, Education District II, Mrs Titilayo Solarin, stated, “I see this book as a modest effort to contribute to the growth and development of local government administration in the state and the country”

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Former Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Basorun (2nd right), former Minister of Works, Sen. Adeseye Ogunlewe and other guests at the book presentation.

“I have always believed that the development of local government administration is a catalyst and a good avenue to rapidly ensure that development gets to the grassroots,” Adebule added.

Her excellency, Mrs Bolanle Akinwunmi, wife of the Governor of Lagos State who was represented at the occasion by Alhaja (Chief) Mrs Tairat Adeola Agunbiade, stated that the author is giving back to the society through the book.

“This tested public servant and seasoned local administration has seen it all as regards administration, whether at the local or state level. Indeed, he would be doing great injustice to knowledge-thirsty Lagosians and Nigerians if he had not captured his wealth of experience in the book form for posterity.

“The book we launch today, I am sure, will sufficiently enlighten us on all issues that border on the local government and its administration,” Mrs Ambode stated.

Mrs Biolanle Ogunmola, the Permanent Secretary (Administration), Lagos State Local Government Service Commission, in her welcome address said, ‘The importance of local government administration or grassroots governance to the overall development and socio-economic growth of any nation cannot in any way be over emphasized as this form of governance actually engenders the bottom to to top type of development, which was a notable feature in the infrastructure development of most urbanized nations of today”

The formal inauguration of Alhaji Babatunde Tajudeen Rotinwa annual award for excellence in Local Government Administration in Lagos State also took place at the occasion and the inaugural winner of the award was Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode.

Among other guests at the event were former Secretary to the State Government, Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Basorun, former Minister of Works, Sen. Adeseye Ogunlewe, Head of Service, Lagos State, Mrs Olabowale Ademola Tolulope, Oba of Lagos, HRM Oba Okikiola Akiolu, Ranodu of Imota, HRM Oba Ajibade Agoro, Olubeshe of Ibeshe, HRM Oba Richard Ogunsanya, former Deputy Governor, Lagos State, Prince Abiodun Oguleye, former Secretary to the State Government, Princess Adeniran-Ogunsanya, Grand Chief Imam, Ikorodu Division, Alhaji Sefiudeen Olowooribi, Chief Imam, Oriwu Central Mosque, Alhaji Yahya Oshoala, Commissioner for Commerce, Industry & Cooperatives, Rotimi Ogunleye, former Senior Special Assistant to Governor on Education Management, Otunba Saheed Ibikunle, former member, Lagos State House of Assembly & Alajede-elect, Prince Saheed Adefarasin Hassan, former Head of Due Process Unit (Presidency), Prof. Kunle Wahab, former ikodass Chairman, Otunba Lam Gbadamosi, former Head of Service, Lagos State, Prince Adesegun Ogunlewe, Head of Administration, Mr Rotimi Erogbogbo, Head of Administration, Mr Sogo Oshikoya among many others.

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