By; NIYI OGUNGBOLA, Abeokuta
In order to ensure effective administration of the third tier of government, Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has lifted embargo on the bank accounts of all 20 local government areas (LGs) in the state, with effect from Monday, February 17, 2020.
Governor Abiodun announced this at a retreat for the Transition Committee Members of the Local Governments, with the theme, ‘Towards a New Local Government System in Ogun – Doing Things Differently’, held at the Executive Council Chambers, Governor’s Office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta,
Governor Abiodun described them as the closest to the people, and must be ensured that the rural dewellers feel the impact of governance.
He said though, they were not elected, the process of their appointments were consensus, as communities and party leaders were involved, hence the need for them to prove their mettle by embarking on people-oriented projects and be fair in their dealings.
“I am proud that the process was successful and there was hardly any complaint or rancour across the length and breadth of this State. For 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.
Abiodun, while explaining the mantra of his government to the Committee members, said the mission was to provide quality leadership that would create conducive environment for Public Private Partnership, economic growth and individual prosperity.
He urged them to key into the agenda and replicate same in their various localities.
He called on them to take advantage of the geographical location of the State by attracting investments to their localities, with a charge on them to be inclusive and refrain from taking arbitrary decisions.
On security, the Governor enjoined them, as the Chief Security Officers of their Local Governments, to ensure adequate security, saying, there cannot be meaningful development in crime prone areas.
He noted that his administration had in the last seven months, carried out lots of reforms, which included, 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, Abiodun said 38 roads had so far been rehabilitated across the State, with two newly constructed ones ready for commissioning.
According to Abiodun, contract for the construction of the Ijebu-Ode-Epe road has been awarded and it’s expected to be completed in twelve months.
He urged the Committee members to replicate the programmes in their respective areas, informing 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, charging them to brace up for the challenges ahead, as his administration had made significant progress in agriculture, education, health, human capital development, 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 and key into various government’s programmes and policies, while at the same time, expose them to local government administration for better performance.
In his presentation, the Guest Speaker from the Department of Local Government and Development Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and Vice Chairman, Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy, Prof. Mike Adeyeye, said Local Government was an important tier of government but was generally regarded as subordinate in the development process.
According to him, ’’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 internally revenue base and near dependence on Federal Allocation.
‘’To do things differently, local governments need to engage in State-Local, Local-Local government 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’’, he posited.
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’s vision and make them more creative in approaching developmental projects in their various Council areas.