By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
Former President, Goodluck Jonathan, has said that the local government system in the country may have “collapsed completely”.
In his estimation, the weakness of the third tier of government, has not helped the security situation confronting the Nigerian State, in view of its closeness to the people.
Jonathan made the submission, Thursday, in a Graduation Lecture he delivered at the National Institute for Security Studies (NISS) in Abuja.
The lecture entitled, “Repositioning The Nigerian Economy for Sustainable Development: Challenges and Prospects”, signalled the completion of a 10-month programme for sixty six Executive Intelligence Management Course (EIMC 14) participants, drawn from the country, the Gambia, Ghana, and Liberia.
While establishing a nexus between security and economic growth, the statesman, who was in his elements, urged the federal to boost investor-cinfidence by emplacing a business-like day environment.
According to the ECOWAS envoy: “Because of the weakness of the lower tiers of government, the Local Government system that is supposed to interface with communities directly, and prevent this, is dead in this country.
“In terms of governance nothing is happening at that level , the community engagement is so weak. Governance at the local level has collapsed completely.
“It is not the federal government that will have the structures to engage the local governments, since they are mainly managed by the states now, because we are told some states take their money.
“The states must have strong departments that can coordinate the affairs of this local government”.
He added thus: “And these departments must have regular meetings with traditional rulers and community development committees to assess the threat level in these communities.
“And if they detect any they will be able to escalate it up to the level of the IG or Chief of Army So, or depending on where the level of security threat (is).
“What we have now that communities have a lot of tension is due to the weakness of the lower level of government which has led to major conflicts.The federal government can troops but that can never solve our problems”.
Like the local government, Jonathan also lamented the near absence of strong institutions in the country, saying: “Just like we talked about the weakness at the local government level In terms of managing our security challenges, one key thing is again, is the institutions, if they are strong they can manage certain conflicts early”.
He argued that, “countries where there are strong political leaders don’t over control institutions, but where political leaders over control the institutions, it is a fertile ground for crisis.
“People will result to self-help if they are being deprived of certain rights because of a political actors interest. That’s the problem we have in Nigeria.
” For example, talking about the Department of State Services, they must be strong and protect the political people they are demand to protect.They must also protect every Nigerian and it was not be used against other Nigerians. If institutions are strong even the president cannot push the head of these institutions to do what they are not meant to do “.
Earlier, Commandant of the NISS, Alh. Ayodele Adeleke, emphasised the fundamental role security plays in the development of any nation’s economy, even as he thanked the Guest Lecturer for accepting invitation at short notice.