A local government administration expert in Cross River State and good governance proponent, Dr Ndoma Odey, has called for the creation of 12 additional Local Council Development Areas, LCDA, in the state.
Cross River State, with a population of about five million and a land size bigger than Togo and Benin Republic, currently has 18 local government areas. Travellers from the southernmost coastal city of Calabar take seven hours to arrive at its Bekwara LGA, a border community with Benue State.
Many contend that three states can be created from Cross River State, which is why there have been agitations to create Ogoja State.
In a statement, Odey said the new creation, in addition to the existing 18 LGAs, would bring the total number of local government areas to 30, with each state constituency qualified for one.
He proposed that the state government fund the new LCDAs and operate them as full-fledged local government areas, pending the consequential act of the National Assembly.
“There is therefore the dire need to further divide the state into Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Authorities to facilitate speedy development at the grassroots. Apart from attracting development to rural areas, creating LCDAs will bring about administrative convenience as well as address the concerns and agitations of many minority groups for a Local Government of their own, thereby reducing the number of conflicts in the state,” he said.
Odey said Cross River is not the only state to call for LCDAs, adding that Lagos, Ekiti, and even neighbouring Ebonyi states have already achieved milestones with this initiative.
He believes that, if implemented, the creation of LCDAs will give room for healthy competition and growth among council areas, create employment opportunities for young people, promote urban and infrastructure development, and resolve the menace of intrastate boundary disputes.
Odey, an accountant, maintained that LCDAs would complement the efforts of the present administration in ensuring sustainable development at the grassroots and by extension, harness the economic resources of rural communities.