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EXTENTION OF ELECTIVE OFFICE AT THE LOCAL LEVEL

A CALL FOR DEMOCRATIC GRASS ROOOT ADVANCEMENT

Democratic decentralisation can be defined as meaningful authority entrusted


to local units of governance that are accessible and accountable to the local
citizenry, who enjoy full political rights and liberty. While noting that;
Democratic representation is understood to be more than a division of labor
between political elites and citizens; hence the need to understand
representation as an essential part of what makes democracy possible. Similarly
the ability of a democratic institution to be extended in order to accommodate
an increase of elective position to the people, clearly proved its development
and indicate the deliberate simplifying of the complex set of relationships that
result in activating the sovereign people by enabling more avenues for peoples
participation and representation at the governmental levels.
The people of Nigeria have gradually come of age in democratic evolution,
participation and processes in election and voting. The popular concept of:
A kasa a tsare is a clear testimony to these evolutions in democratic
participation. Taking a closer look at this phenomenal participation in the
democratic processes by the people; in close contrast with the
representational duties of those elected representatives by the people to
represent them The landscape of democratic representation is clouded by
the growing complexity of issues, which increasingly strains the powers of
representative agents, and thus their capacities to stand for and act on
the interests of those they represent.
This issues ranges from proximity to the people, accessibility to the
representative as at when needed and the time frame it takes to respond to the
need of the people represented. The question is how will our democracy

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increased citizens participation as well as representative relationship with


electorate to attain the maximum utilization of democratic dividends?
The attainment of an all-inclusive representation in our democratic processes
most be broaden to accommodate the growing number of families who
constitute the constituencies at the wards and the poling unit, the vital point in
our elections. Taking note from the universal concept of territory: The central
feature of the standard accounts that constituencies are defined by territory;
individuals are represented insofar as they are inhabitants of a place beginning
With the formation of the modern state, territorial residence became the
fundamental condition for political representation a condition more inclusive
than status- and corporate-based representation.
For us to evolve an all-inclusive democracy we must as a people reshape our
democratic institutions to reflect the peculiar nature of our sociocultural
backgrounds. The continual adoption of a straight jacket model should be
reviewed by our state legislators for the sole aim of bringing government closer
to the people. Who hitherto were far away from the institutions which affect
their lives? The family unit is the vital point from which constitute ward levels
and the districts. In this case the Development area Offices will be a very
good institution from which this elective position can be extended by our state
legislators a focal point were decentralised state apparatus will be more
exposed and therefore more responsive to local needs and aspirations. This will
produce systems of governance that are more effective and accountable to local
citizens. The basic aim of democratic governance will be attained. The
Development area Officer is to be politised by making it contestable to the
public; this will bring political participation more closely to the people as well as
improve representation of their interest at ward levels. It will give a prompt
response to peoples based issues and developmental needs which will aid and
facilitate the works of the Local Government. It will also improve
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representation as an intrinsic part of what makes democracy possible as well as


what makes it an avenue for the prompt response to peoples dynamic needs of
life. While the democratic deficit is now widely recognised, the way to respond
is by strengthening the processes of citizen participation that is the ways in
which ordinary citizens can exercise voice through new forms of inclusion,
consultation and/or mobilisation designed to inform and to influence larger
institutions and policies. The need for changes in institutional design, through an
extension of elective offices at the local levels will enable the emergence of
new structures for good democratic government.
The politicking of the seat of the Development area office will aid in
democratization of the local community and will facilitate the gradual evolution
of political activities from the ward levels by giving room to young active
democrats to demonstrate their competence and creative leadership in
advancing the community. It will transformed the bare fact of residence into a
sufficient condition for equal power-sharing, and laid the basis for the modern
conception of constituency. One way to make government respond more directly
to popular will as well as the democratic yearnings of the people is through the
increase of the number of elective offices. This call for the extension of
elective office to the ward levels came as a result of: The landscape of
democratic representation been clouded by the growing complexity of issues,
which increasingly strains the powers of representative agents, and thus their
capacities to stand for and act on the interests of those they represent we as
a people ought to device a means in order to improve our democratic processes
to meet up with the aspirations of our people whom we are representing, and to
whom we are working towards improving their life as human beings. Based on the
fact that responsiveness means that; governments are able to react to the
demands and needs of society at large, and are open to effective interaction
with civil society and interest groups, and are able to take a variety of views and
interests into consideration in the policy- and law-making processes. In this
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respect, transparency in the work of governments is critical to making them


responsive. Citizen participation is paramount for the success of democracy. If
the decision making process excludes the masses, one cannot talk of a
democracy. For meaningful citizen participation in the politics of their country
and, thus, the success of democracy, it is necessary that citizens know their
roles and duties in a democracy. Besides this, the task of citizens is to nurture
institutions and practices that are compatible with local conditions and
conducive to democratic aspirations, which the extension of elective office
contestable by the local people will bring about meaningful citizens participation
as well as 'empowered participatory governance'. Through the modernisation of
the Development Area Offices the democratisation and empowerment of local
administrative bodies can enhance participation in decision-making fora,
particularly among groups that have been traditionally marginalised by local
political processes. This call came as a result of the collective desire for
change which our people aspire to see as the actualization of this idea will
enhance Participation a component of democracy which refers to the process
whereby people act in political ways to connect themselves to government and
thus become self-governing. Democratic participation can occur when people
participate through established structures adopted and formalised to enhance
participatory democracy with potentialities to improve and advance an allinclusive participations of people at the local levels by strengthening citizen
participation and reconnecting citizens to the state, in areas having to do with
health care, youth, older people, community revitalisation, public service
delivery, child health, child labour, girl child education, youth women
empowerment and the environment .It is time for all of us to marshal the
moral forces capable of breaking what must be broken and building what must
be build in order to advance our democratic processes from the vital point of
society.

Abdullahi G. Lam
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