By Jethro Ibileke/Benin
Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki, has said that local government administration in Nigeria can never be the same again, in the post-Covid-19 era.
He stated this on Wednesday, at a valedictory session in honour of the outgoing local government area chairmen in the state.
The governor who commended them for their outstanding performance during their three-year term in office, said he has no regret working with them.
He noted that the outgoing LGA chairmen will perhaps be the last set of chairmen that will run the local government it uses to be.
He said: “I know all the challenges that you were faced with, but you stood firm and you continue in a dodged manner to fight, to do the best you could.
“I knew the security challenges you faced, but in all, you did well. But as a government, we truly appreciate you and also thank you for all the good work you have done.
“Your people elected you as chairmen to work with me and just looking back to over the last three years, there is nothing to regret working with you. That we are back in the office today, is largely due to the efforts of each and every one of you.
“If you didn’t do well, if you didn’t follow the policies that we lay down, if you didn’t support our course, our people will not have believed in us, because you are our generals in the field.
“Whatever we have achieved as government can be attributed to our performance, yes there were challenges, particularly financial challenges, you were resource-constrained.
“I knew what we went through trying to build up your revenue base, I knew disappointment that you faced as a result of Covid-19 witnessing that revenue base go away.
“Local government administration in Nigeria can never be the same again, post Covid-19, you are perhaps the last set of chairmen that will run the local government it use to be, it’s not going to be business as usual.
“Right now we have undertaken a major transformation of the civil service, the local government administration has to be transformed, we are working hard to make sure we have strong internet in all the local government for eased communications.
“Your payrolls must all be automated, we are going to screen all your staff, we are going to find out who is working or not, it’s going to be very tough. And you the outgoing chairmen, we will come to you for help, please make yourselves available,” he said.
The governor assured that the era at which local government cannot pay workers salaries were over, noting that his administration would leave a legacy of 30-year development plans for future chairmen.
Earlier, the outgoing Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), in the state, Mr Jerkins Osunde, thanked the governor for giving them the privilege to serve in his government.
“In the are of security, we cannot but thank you for your initiatives in ensuring that the vigilante that we have now becomes an institution and with this formation, we have seen a decline, in this area we must thank you, your excellency.
“These formations are now been abused by some individuals in the local government, as we bow out your excellency, we think it’s noteworthy that this area is looked at by security architecture. Vigilante is now being set up by individuals.
“They are now using this vigilante to pursue their selfish needs and desires this potent danger to our communities. We said we should bring it to your notice,” Osunde said.