There is pleasant news in town. The Anambra State government is about to dole out a whopping N20m to each of the 177 communities in the state to tackle their most pressing needs. Before the disbursement, stakeholders from all the communities will be expected to have a session with the governor to acquaint him with their pressing needs and get directives on the money's utilisation.
This is no doubt good news after what seemed to be the lack of activity in the grassroots for some time. Saying that the grassroots need the money will be stating the obvious. However, much as the money is desirable, we will not hesitate to remind the state government of the need to channel it properly to ensure proper utilisation and accountability.
One of the ways to do this will be to effectively involve the third tier of government, especially now that elected representatives are in place. They should not only be fully involved, but should be placed in charge of the disbursement as that will justify their status as representatives of the grassroots in the first instance.
We say this because of the apparent sidelining of the local government chairmen and councillors by the state executive in Anambra State. These people have been rendered almost useless in this dispensation without empowerment. This is why they have spent two years in office without anything to show by way of achievements, being that they do not enjoy any constituency allowance as their state assembly counterparts. Thus, not saddling them with responsibility in the expected largesse by the state government, will call to question the existence of the third tier of government.
We are making a case for them because they are responsible to their people to whom they made promises during electioneering. But their failure to fulfil those promises because of lack of empowerment by the state government has virtually rubbished their political careers. The third tier of government came about because of the need for governance to come home to the people. But so far in Anambra State, the vehicle which should drive that governance home has not been fuelled and this is simply not ideal.
Therefore, as the state government finalises plans on how to disburse the money, let it ensure that the third tier takes its rightful place in order to retain some modicum of respect if any still remains. There is no gainsaying the fact that the third tier of government in Anambra State has fared the worst in the federation, having been denied of its statutory entitlements, making them a laughing stock among their constituents.
They should therefore be in charge of the expected largesse from the state government who should clearly spell out to them what to do with the funds and whom to incorporate.
Anything short of this will be a further manifestation of the perceived marginalisation of the third tier operators in Anambra State.