…DO WE STILL HAVE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION IN OGUN STATE?
This was a question I asked on my Facebook wall six years ago and the question is still pertinent and begging for an answer till today.
I reproduce below its full edited version, just as I urge the newly inaugurated council chairmen and councillors to make positive impact on rural dwellers in their respective council areas.
“Do we have local government council administration in Ogun State?. Yes we do in terms of existence. But if you asked me about the performances of the immediate past local government administration in the Gateway State, I would not hesitate to score them zero.
Unlike what obtained in the previous governments, particularly during the administrations of Aremo Olusegun Osoba and Otunba Gbenga Daniel, the crop of chairmen, supervisory councilors and councillors across the Gateway State should bury their faces in shame.
For example in my council, Abeokuta North Local Government, where former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and hosts of others hail from, the third tier of government there were dismal non performers.
These crop of chairmen in the 20 Local Government Council Areas of the state have not only performed below average, but have woefully disappointed the electorate.
In public, they will tell you all is well with them, but within their hearts and with their confidants, they will sing different tunes.
Whatever the achievements of Governor Amosun in the past four years have been rubished by the dismal performance and arrogance of the current local government administration in the state.
I am sure, many of them would heave a sigh of relieve that they had left office even though they have nothing to show for their tenure which remains the worst in the history of local government administration at least in the past 16 years in the state.
With its notriety for vices and hooliganism, Abeokuta South Local Government, the acclaimed premier council did better under the duo of Hon. Akeem Odejimi (a.k.a. Ologbohun) and Prince Yanju Lipede (a.k.a. Solution).
Same for Hon. Tunde Oladunjoye and Hon Albert Asipa in Ijebu East Local Government and Imeko-Afon Council Areas respectively. But for these ambassadors of the journalism profession, many communities in their respective domains would not have witnessed development. Can we say these of the immediae past 20 council chairmen in my state?.
Until the soothing music stopped, after the mayhem occassioned by the death of a tailor in the historic town of Ijebu Ife, Oladunjoye, (CATO), was the darling of his people. Habeeb Ajayi’s tenure in Abeokuta North Local Government was eventful too. His administration opened up the Ikereku-Idan link road among many other projects.
Even, Hon., Ajisegiri who decided to embark on a project that he could not complete at the entrance of Chief Olusegun Obassnjo at Sokori still has his name indelible in the minds of his people. What can we say of the immediate past chairmen in the state?.
John Obafemi’s tenure as chairman of Remo North Local Government Area of the state was characterised by laudable projects some of which would even outlive him.
Many electioneering promises of the immediate past set of council leadership were not met and would never be met as they left office.
If the operation of the State/Local Government Joint Account is the albatros for their non performance as they used to complain, I appeal to the governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun to please emulate his counterpart in Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai and discontinue with it”.
Meanwhile, the zeal, energy and resources utilized by the All Progressives Congress (APC) into the campaigns for the just concluded local government election in Ogun State were uncommon phenomenon in politics, especially in an environment devoid of opposition. The campaign committees in their respective council areas under the chairmanship of the Ogun State Deputy Governor, Noimot Salako Oyedele, an engineer by profession traversed all the 20 local governments where electorate were enjoined to vote all APC candidates into the chairmanship and councillorship positions, promising improved delivery of people – oriented dividends of democracy under the current administration in the state.
Not relying on the power of incumbency or support of the governor, the candidates of the APC were everywhere. They did road shows and house-to-house campaigns and equally sponsored radio and television commercials on both state-owned radio and television channels as well as other privately owned radio channels selling the themselves to the electorate across the state. The APC exhibited high level of preparedness and confidence before the local government election.
Just 48 hours to the July 24, 2021 council polls, an unexpected development took place. The major opposition political party (PDP) allegedly withdrew from the election. Announcing the party’s withdrawal, the state chairman, Hon. Sikirulah Ogundele at a press conference in Abeokuta, expressed doubts in the capability of the Babatunde Osibodu-led Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission, (OGSIEC) to deliver a credible poll, stressing that the party was not ready to dissipate energy and resources in an ” already decided” contest.
Spontaneously, like confirming the existing crack in the PDP fold, dissenting voice was heard from within an opposition political party which claimed to have overcome factional politics, as Hon. Leke Shittu who claims to be the secretary of the embattled PDP in the state maintained that the party was more than ready to participate in the council polls.
Reacting to Shittu’s claim as the secretary of the PDP, Ogundele reiterated that the Saraki-led Reconciliatory Committee allotted the chairman (himself) and secretary (Hon. Sunday Solarin) slots to the LADO group and not otherwise as claimed by Shittu. According to Ogundele, in an interview on a live radio programme in Abeokuta while the election was underway, the PDP had yet to shift its decision, noting that they were aware that the members from the late Senator Buruji Kashamu’s camp represented by Shittu were allegedly acting the scripts written by the APC administration in the state. Nevertheless, Hon. Ogundele hinted that the Ogun PDP had seen through the plans of the OGSIEC, noting that the party would report the activities of the OGSIEC chairman to the National Judicial Council (NJC) and Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to probe his credibility.
Again, keen watchers of political events in the state disagreed with the PDP’s decision not to participate in the election. While holding that the major opposition political party’s withdrawal 48 hours to the election, for whatever reasons, would not help democracy and only made the election a ” walk- over” for the ruling APC, noting that the decision to withdraw only portrayed the PDP further as a weak and confused opposition in the state.
That was the situation when the election held. Although, there was very low turn-out of electorate as only few that came out to vote were believed to be party members, relations or well- wishers of contestants, it was relatively peaceful. Other political parties that took part in the polls were the PDP, New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Action Alliance (AA), Action Peoples Party (APP) African Action Congress (AAC), Social Democrat Party ( APP), African Action Congress (AAC) Social Democrat Party (SDP), Labour Party (LP), Accord Party (AP) and Young Progressive Party (YPP), according to the OGSIEC.
By the evening of Sunday, July 25, ,2021 the result of the local polls were released. According to the OGSIEC, candidates of the ruling APC won all the 20 chairmanship and 236 councillorship seats.
The elected chairmen were
- Hon Adebayo Ayorinde ———————– Abeokuta North
- Hon Majekadunmi ————————– Abeokuta South
- Hon. Musa Adewale ———————— Ado- Odo Olota
- Hon. Adesina Adisa ——————– Ewekoro
- Hon. Delana Kikelomo —————— Ifo
- Hon. Wale Adedayo ——————– Ijebu East
- Hon. Odusanya Omobolaji ————- ijebu North
- Hon. Folusho Badejo, Ijebu North East
- Hon. Eniola Babatunde, Ijebu Ode
- Hon. Olusegun Ogunleye, Ikenne
- Hon. Yaya Fadipe Akande, Imeko- Afon
- Hon. Agbetokun A. Olawale, Ipokia
- Hon. ogunsola Lanrewaju Adesina, Obafemi- Owode
- Hon. Adeyemo Folashade,.Odeda
- Hon. Ladejobi Shuaib Adebayo, Odogbolu
- Hon. Odunsi Adedayo, Remo North
- Hon. Odulate Olashita, Sagamu
- Hon. Ogunyomi Gabriel Oluwole, Egbado/ Yewa North
- Hon. Salami Lateef Adebayo, Egbado/Yewa South
- Hon. Mudashiru Adekunle, Waterside.
The chairmen, their deputies and councilors have since been issued certificates of return by the OGSIEC and inaugurated by the governor with a charge to see their election as a call to service.
Abiodun urged them to be inclusive, transparent, accountable, fair, just, equitable, judicious and always obey the rule of law in the discharge of their constitutional responsibilities
At this juncture, it is important to highlight the statutory functions of the local government as entrenched in the fourth schedule of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The functions are as follows:
a. The consideration and the making of recommendations to a state commission on economic planning or any similar body on;
- the economic development of the state, particularly in so far as the areas of authority of the council and of the state are affected, and;
- proposals made by the said commission or body;
b. collection of rates, radio and television licenses;
c. establishment and maintenance of cemeteries, burial grounds and homes for the destitute and infirm;
d. licensing of bicycles, trucks (other than mechanically- propelled trucks), canoes, wheel borrows and carts;
e. establishment, maintenance and regulation of slaughter stabs, markets, motor parks and public conveniences;
f. construction and maintenance of roads, streets, street lightings, drains and other public highways, parks, gardens, open spaces, or such public facilities as may be prescribed from time to time by the house of assembly of a state;
g. naming of roads and streets, and numbering of houses;
h. provision and maintenance of public conveniences,, sewage and refuse disposal;
i registration of all births, deaths and marriages;
j. assessment of privately owned houses or tenements for the purpose of levying such rates as may be presumed by the house of assembly of a state and
k. control and regulation of:
- Out- door advertising and hoarding,
- movement and keeping of pets of all descriptions,
iii. shops and kiosks:
iv. restaurants, Bakeries and other places for sale of food to the public
v. laundries and:
vi. licensing, regulation and control of the sale of liquor.
Aside those exclusive functions as stated above, some other functions and responsibilities are performed concurrently with the state government. Such functions shall include participation of such councils in the government of a state as respects the following matters;
a. the provision and maintenance of primary, adult and vocational education;
b. the development of agriculture and natural resources other than the exploitation of minerals;
c. the provision and maintenance of health services, and;
d. such other functions as may be conferred an a local government by the house of assembly of the state.
Still, as enormous and demanding as the functions and responsibilities of the local government are, it is unfortunate that with the very limited and circumscribed sources of revenue available, it may be difficult to enable them execute meaningful infrastructural projects. However given the readiness of the Abiodun-led government to respect full autonomy of the local government as well as giving them necessary support to carry out their constitutional responsibilities for the benefit of the electorate and residents in their council areas, it is envisaged that these set of local government administrators will bring succor to their domains.
Moreover, it is expected that the new chairmen will hit the ground running without any further delay. It is important, also, that they will take to the advice of governor Abiodun not to over- burden the people who are really the essence and facilitators of their coming to power as they strive to improve their internally generated revenues. The need for them to be creative, think outside the box and not rely exclusively on the allocations from the Federal government to deliver good governance and engender a new vista of development to the people at the grassroots cannot be overemphasized. Of importance still, is the need for them to engage in Public Private Partnership (PPP) to bring rapid infrastructural development to the grassroots.
In conclusion, we implore all party leaders, members and all stakeholders at both state and local government level to allow the chairmen deliver good governance to the grassroots, to operate as an independent tier of government, by not burdering them with personal obligations and expecting to be attended to from the common public purse.
This will continually impede the progress of governance. We cannot continue to use the usual method and expect to get different results, it can no longer be business as usual at the grassroots level, if we really expect human capital and infrastructural development at that level. while congratulating and wishing all the new chairmen, deputy chairmen and honourable councilors successful tenure of office, we advise that they should dedicate their tenure to formulation and executing of people-oriented policies and programmes that will outlive their administrations. Whatever position one occupies today is a challenge. It behoves on the occupier of such position to be just, fair and equitable in the distribution of the gains of such position while in office.