By Adejoke Adeleye
In order to ensure effective administration of the third tier of government in Ogun State, Governor, Dapo Abiodun has lifted the embargo placed on bank accounts of all the 20 Local Government Areas in the state.
The defreezing of accounts takes effect from Monday February 17, 2020.
Abiodun announced this at the Strategic Session for Transition Committee chairmen and members of all the Local Government Areas in the State.
The workshop, with the theme, “Towards a New Local Government System in Ogun – Doing Things Differently”, was held at the Executive Council Chambers, Goverrnor’s Office, Oke-Mosan Abeokuta.
Abiodun, who described local government as the closest to the people, said for the people to feel the impact of government, those at the helm of affairs at the council level must embark on masses’ oriented projects and be fair in their dealings with them.
He said though they were not elected, the process of their appointment was consensus, as community and party leaders were involved in their selection as a corollary of the inclusive approach to governance in the state.
This, he noted, underscored his call that they must perform excellently to justify the confidence reposed in them.
“The process through which you were appointed was a consensus oriented one. I did not sit down here at Oke-Mosan and appoint anyone. I allowed your leaders and party faithful sit down in your various local government Councils and present to us those they consider best for them and the people.
“I am proud that the process was successful and that is why following your appointment, there was hardly, if any, complaints or rancour across the length and breadth of this State. From all intents and purposes, you are truly the representatives of the people of your various local governments and we will accord you that respect”, he noted.
The Governor, who explained the mantra of his government to the local government administrators, said the vision was to provide qualitative leadership that would create a conducive environment for public private partnership which was considered fundamental for economic growth and individual prosperity of the people. He urged them to key into this vision and replicate same in their various localities.
Abiodun called on them to take advantage of the geographical location of the State by attracting investments to their local governments, however, charged them to be Inclusive and refrain from taking arbitrary decisions, but that which reflects the collective will and desires of the people.
“You are closest to the grassroots. Be focused and provide qualitative leadership. When you take decisions, consult your people. Take decisions that reflect the collective will and desires of your people and do not impose taxes and rates that are not known to our laws. It’s extortion and I won’t encourage that”, he advised.
On security, the Goverrnor enjoined them as the Chief Security Officers of their Local Governments, to ensure adequate security, as they would not achieve any meaningful development without security.
“No investor would invest in crime prone areas”, Abiodun added.
He said his administration in the last seven months, had carried out lots of reforms, which include, setting up of the State Investment Promotion Agency (OGUNINVEST), and the State Public Private Partnership Office, aimed at attracting investors and improving ease of doing business in the State.
In the area of infrastructure, he said 38 roads had been rehabilitated across the State, with two newly constructed ones ready for commissioning.
He further disclosed that contract for the construction of the Ijebu-Ode – Epe road which would be completed in twelve months time had also been awarded.
While urging the new LG administrators to replicate the programmmes of the State in their respective areas, he informed that 5,000 units of houses would be built for low income and middle income earners at affordable cost in Abeokuta, Ilaro, Ijebu-Ode and Sagamu.
He charged them to brace up for the challenges ahead as his administration continues to make strides in agriculture, education, health, human capital development, youth and empowerment generation as well as digitalization, among others.
Speaking earlier, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Afolabi Afuape, noted that the retreat was to get the members better informed of government programmes and policies and to expose them to local government administration’s peculiar roles for better performance.
In his presentation, the guest speaker, a professor of Local Government and Development Studies at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Prof. Mike Adeyeye, explained that local government was an important tier of government but was generally regarded as surbodinate in the development process.
He said though local government was endowed with great potentials which provides the best platform to take people out of poverty, it was however weighed down by weak mechanism of local accountability in terms of stewardship and social impact, low internal revenue base and near-dependence on Federal Allocation.
Prof. Adeyeye posited that to do things differently, local governments needed to engage in State -Local, Local -Local goverment collaborative governance, be fiscally and politically accountable, get people’s inputs in project execution, adopt e-governance as well as citizens approach in running their councils.
Speaking in an interview, the Transition Committee Chairman, Odogbolu Local Government Area, Hon.Obafemi Onakoya said the retreat was a right step in the right direction as it would help them have good understanding of the State vision and make them more creative in approaching developmental projects in their various Council areas.