Lagos Will Need 10 More LGs In The Next 5 Years – Basorun
The first Secretary to the Lagos State Government and Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Basorun has stated that Lagos State will need more than ten local governments by 2022.
This was part of the position canvassed in his paper titled, “Lagos: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Local Government System”.The paper was his contribution as co-lecturer during a lecture on the History of Lagos, held on May 24, 2017, at Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, as part of activities at the just concluded Lagos @50 celebrations.
Speaking on the future of local government system in the state, the former state scribe stated, “Lagos will need more Councils in the future, at least ten more in 2022.”
He also called on the federal government to ensure that the inhibitions that are negatively affecting the functioning of the newly Local Council Development Areas in the state are removed.
“The inhibition affecting the Councils from functioning as full-fledged local government should be removed by deleting:Section 3(6) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Section 8(5) and 8(6).”
He also called for a change in the First Schedule of the 1999 Constitution as one of the ways of removing the inhibition to make local government system function properly.He also canvassed for the use of survey annotations to describe state boundaries in Part I of the First Schedule to the 1999 Constitution instead of Council areas.
Other recommendations in his paper which received standing ovation at the event also include that, “The executive capacity of the Councils’ staff needs to be shored up through recruitment and training of high quality personnel to improve on the services of the Councils.”
And that, “The State Government should ensure strict compliance to the provision of section 162(7) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which states that “each State shall pay to local government councils in its area of jurisdiction such proportion of its total revenue on such terms and in such a manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly.”
Asiwaju Basorun who stated that Lagos State was initially made up of the Colony Province (Ikeja Division, Badagry Division and Epe Division) and Lagos Division added that, “ In May, 1968, Ikorodu Division was carved out of the Ikeja Division; while in 1971, Imota portion of Ikosi District Council in Epe Division was added to Ikorodu Division; and Etiosa Local Council, formerly part of Ikorodu Division, was ceded to Lagos City Council to become part of Lagos Division.”
“It is in the context just described that I intend to discuss the Local Government System in Lagos State yesterday, today and tomorrow.”
He identified seven major stages of local government system development in Nigeria vis-à-vis Lagos State.
First being pre-1955 when local government system operated as Native Authority.
“Between 1932 and 1955, like in other parts of Nigeria, the Colony Province which was part of Western Nigeria operated what was then known as Native Authority (NA). The Lagos Division, as represented by Lagos City Council, was being governed by a separate enactment, the Lagos Local Government Act, 1959. Its predecessor, the Lagos Town Council, was also created under a new Lagos Local Government Law. It produced the first and last Mayor of Lagos, Ibiyinka Olorunnimbe, in 1950.”
The second stage was between 1955 and 1971, when local government system was introduced into Western Nigeria administration by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.”
“When a new local government system was introduced in Western Nigeria by Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1955, it extended to the Colony Province which was an integral part of the Region. The intention of the Local Government Law was that a Divisional Council should be superior to a Local Council. The Divisional Council was the rating authority for Local Councils in its area of jurisdiction while the District Council, really not under any Divisional Council, only less in status, was also a rating authority. When it became necessary to appoint Caretaker Committees for Councils in Lagos State in 1969, Lagos City Council, the Divisional, the District and Local Council were those used.”
Bashorun further explained that between 1971 and 1975, a further development brought about District Council structure,being the fallout from the Joel Ogunnaike’s Report of 1971.
“A further development in Lagos State saw the scrapping of the three-tiered structure and gave way to an All Purpose District Councils structure for all the council areas as a result of Joel Ogunnaike Report of 1971 on The Tribunal of Inquiry into the Re-organisation of Local government which the Government accepted. Except for retention of name, Lagos City Council was affected. The Reform threw up the following Council areas:Lagos Division: Lagos City Council,; Badagry Division: Awori/Ajeromi District Council, Egun/Awori District Council; Epe Division: Epe District Council; Ikeja Division: Ikeja District Council, Mushin Town Council and Ikorodu Division: Ikorodu District Council
The fourth stage of the local government development, according to Asiwaju Basorun,occurred between 1976 and 1979.
“In 1976, when the Military Administration, in its wisdom, decided to install a single local government system for Nigeria on the basis of Dasuki’s (deposed Sultan of Sokoto) Report, it approved eight “Local Government Councils” (the designation it chose) for Lagos State.
According to him,during this period, local government system in Lagos State was structured as follows: Lagos Division:Lagos Island Local Government Council and Lagos Mainland Local Government Council; Badagry Division: Badagry Local Government Council; Epe Division: Epe Local Government council; Ikeja Division: Ikeja Local Government Council, Mushin East Local Government Council and Mushin West Local Government Council and Ikorodu Division: Ikorodu Local Government Council
More so,Asiwaju Bashorun said after the 1979 Constitution introduced the Presidential system into Nigerian political lexicon, the local government system between 1980 and 1983 became the sole responsibility of states.
“The 1979 Constitution vested the creation and administration of Local Government Councils in the State Government. Lagos State, through a law enacted by the State Assembly, created 23 local government areas in 1980. When the Military struck again and took over the country’s administration on December 31, 1983, part of its early actions in 1984 was to scrap the 23 council areas and reverted to the 8 local government councils structure created in 1976 by another military administration.”Also,he said local Government Councils in Lagos State increased from 12 to 15 during the military regimes.
“Through military fiat, the number of Local Government Councils in Lagos State increased to 12 and 15. In 1996, by another military fiat, the Abacha administration awarded an across-the-board 30% increase on the existing number of Local Government Councils in each State of the Federation. It brought the number in Lagos State from 15 to 20 (Kano from 34 to 44) which was the position as at 2002. The council areas are:
“During this period, Lagos Division has five council systems which include Apapa, Etiosa, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland and Surulere; Badagry Division has four comprising of Ajeromi/Ifelodun, Amuwo-Odofin, Badagry and Ojo; Epe Division has just two which are Epe and Ibeju Lekki; Ikeja Division has the largest which is eight and they are Agege, Alimoso, Ifako/Ijaiye, Ikeja, Kosofe, Mushin, Somolu and Oshodi/Isolo, while Ikorodu Division has the least which is just one, Ikorodu.”
According to the elder statesman, the current development in the local government system in Lagos State was started with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in 2002 when he created additional 37 local government which were later converted to Local Council Development Areas due to constitutional inhibitions.
“The civilian administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu took the giant and courageous step to increase the number to 57 in 2002 with a law duly passed by the Lagos State House of Assembly. However, the last step to complete the exercise could not be accomplished because the National Assembly which was to make consequential provisions to admit the newly created Councils as in accordance with Section 3(6) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and as in Part I of the First Schedule to the Constitution failed to do so. It resulted in a celebrated court case between the Lagos State Government and the Federal Government whereby the Supreme Court ruled that the Act of the State Assembly in creating the 37 additional councils was constitutional, but the process was inchoate.”
Asiwaju Basorun stated that despite constitutional problems preventing the LCDAs from operating as full-fledge councils, they had contributed significantly to the developments at the grassroots.
“But the 57 Councils stayed till today. The recognised 20 local government councils took the additional 37 councils as the development areas and were christened “37 Local Council Development Areas.” The 57 Councils have functioned for fourteen years with giant strides in developing their areas. We now have 57 Council Secretariats with multiplier effect in physical structures like Health Centres, Council Buildings and extensive growth in human capital (employment generation). The gains of the Council creation are too many to recount; we can only continue to appreciate the initiators and their ingenuity in creating the Councils and making the system to function successfully.”
Conclusively, the first State Scribe held that there is promising future for local government administration in Lagos State, citing other states copying the LCDAs initiative of the state despite the constitutional inhibitions placed by the 1999 Constitution. “At least, three States in the Southwest, Ogun, Oyo and Osun, have adopted the Lagos Model. I believe it will work out well.”
It would be recalled that Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Basorun was a two-term Councillors, starting from 1971, and a former Deputy Chairman, Ikorodu District Council in 1975.