Local government administration has been adopted as the fundamental instrument for the acceleration and sustenance of rural development. It serves as a vehicle for political education and mobilization. Several efforts have been made towards moving the system from local administration to local government with functional political and economic autonomy. Despite the recent autonomy that local governments have gained in Nigeria, they are still faced with the challenge of educating citizens on the functions and responsibilities of their local government and its representatives. This makes it difficult for citizens to hold their representatives accountable. This article relays the findings of the implementation of #MyLGA Project in Niger State under the support of the Initiative for Social Development in Africa (iSODAF) in collaboration with Enough Is Enough Nigeria (EiE Nigeria). The project is currently being implemented in 5 states of the federation. The project is aimed at bringing the community/citizens closer to their local administrative governance, as well as promoting transparency, accountability and responsiveness in local government administration.
Bida is the second largest city in Niger State in North central Nigeria with an estimated population of 178,840 people (2007). It is located southwest of Minna, capital of Niger State, and is a dry, arid town. There are several towns and villages in Bida, which include Pategi, Kutigi, Mokwa, Baddeggi, Katcha, Lemu, Lapai, and Enagi. The predominant tribe/ ethnic group in Bida is the Nupe ethnic division, as it is the headquarters of the Nupe Kingdom. In particular, the Etsu Nupe group (presently Etsu Yahaya Abubakar) is the traditional ruler of the area. Islam is the widely practiced religion in Bida LGA with the Nupe language being the most prominent language. Key landmarks in the area include the Federal Polytechnic Bida and the Niger state school of Nursing, with one of the most popular festivals being the Durbar festival. The LGA consists of districts/Wards which includes Bariki, Cheniyan, Dokoodza, Ma’asaba A, Ma’asaba B, Masaga A, Masaga B, Umaru Majigi A, Umaru Majigi B, Landzun, Kyari, Nasarafu, Mayaki Ndajiya and Wadata.
Geography of Bida:
Bida LGA occupies a total area of 1,698 square kilometres and has an estimated average temperature of 30 degrees celsius. The area has a humidity level of 31 percent while wind speed is put at 9 km/h. The landscape of Bida LGA is characterized by large expanses of dry, arid lands. Other landmark areas in Bida are Bamisu estate, Ramatu dangana, ECWA poly road, Small Market, Main Market and the Federal Medical Centre (Bida) others. Some notable schools include the Federal Government Girls College Bida, Federal Polytechnic Staff Secondary School, Government College, Bida.
Economy of Bida
Agriculture is an important economic engagement of the people of Bida LGA with a plethora of crops cultivated in the area. Trade is also a critical part of the economy of Bida LGA with markets such as the Bida Main Market attracting thousands of buyers and sellers. Modern Bida is well known for its crafts, notably brass and copper goblets, glass beads and bangles, raffia hats and mats, and locally dyed cotton and silk cloth. The craftsmen work by hand on their own premises in distinctive wards and are organized into close-knit guilds. Bida is also known for its Durbar festival and the Nupe Day Festival. It is also the home to the Federal Polytechnic, Bida, Federal Medical Centre and Niger State School of Nursing.
Bida LGA EiE Nigeria Project Implementation:
Bida is one of the pioneering LGA’s in Niger State and Nigeria as a whole where the MyLGA project was implemented. The project was sponsored by Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE Nigeria) and anchored by the Initiative for Social Development in Africa (iSODAF). This project aims at providing community members with the tools needed to hold their representatives accountable. In the implementation of the project, several activities from Baseline assessment, Focus Group Discussions/Stakeholders engagements as well as Community engagements were held in the Bida LGA. On the commencement of the project, the LGA Chairman in person of Hon (Dr.) Suleiman B Sheshi was given a letter of consent and approval through which other executives as well as the Ward councilors were also contacted.
Through the activities highlighted above, the project provided a forum where community heads and stakeholders could meet. These activities were held in Mayaki Ndajiya and Bariki wards of Bida LGA, precisely in Efu Mayaki Community and Kangi Community in Mayaki Ndajiya Ward and Kangi Makun in Bariki ward of Bida LGA. The town hall meetings yielded positive outcomes for the EiE Nigeria project; several issues were raised such as the factors that hinder citizens from holding elected representatives accountable, as well as potential resolutions for this challenge.
- Lack of need-assessments by local government officials before undertaking community projects.
- Lack of interaction with community members before budget preparations.
- Lack of proper education amongst representatives
- Lack of transparency from representatives
- High susceptibility of citizens to vote-buying
- Poor selection of of party flag bearers by delegates
- Poor communication processes between community members and representatives
- Regular meetings amongst community members
- Selection of new, more competent community representatives to liaise with local government officials
- Improved communication strategies between community representatives and the ward counsellor and local government chairman, in order to hold them accountable for community infrastructure and projects
- The use of town hall meetings/community meetings to dissuade community members from selling their votes
Information on BIDA LGA Executives
LIST OF BIDA LGA EXECUTIVE MEMBERS & THEIR CONTACT NUMBERS
|NAMES OF EXECUTIVES
|Hon Suleiman B Sheshi
|Hon (Engr) Abubakar Musa
|Hon Mohammed Abdullahi
|Hon Nma Alhaji Shehu
|Bida House Leader/Counsellor
|Hon Gimba Yabagi
|Hon Hassan Shafyi Gimba
|Hon Hassan IbrahimNdayako
|Umaru Ma’ajigi A
|Hon Salihu Abubakar Natsu
|Umaru Ma’ajigi B
|Hon Sarki Alhaji Mohammed Nma
|Hon Mohammed Abubakar Alhaji
|Hon Mohammed Baba Waziri
|Hon Abdulkadir Yakubu
|Hon Danladi Edota
|Hon Aliyu Mohammed Attahiru
|Hon Abubakar Mohammed Alhaji
|Hon Baba Magaji
Written By: SHEHU AHMED BABA
Edited by: EiE Media Team