The Ogun State Government in conjunction with Ken Nnamani Centre for Leadership and Development jointly organised a three-day leadership workshop for local government administrators, Sheriff Balogun reports
Last week, the Ogun State Government, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Office and Ken Nnamani Centre for Leadership and Development organised a three-day workshop with the theme: Enhancing the Local Government Administration in Ogun State for local council chairmen, vice chairmen and their secretaries in Abeokuta, Ogun State. The workshop, declared opened by the governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, was aimed at sharpening the leadership capacities of local government chairmen, their deputies, secretaries and other active players in the third tier of government.
The workshop also focused on primary duties of local government and responsibilities, organisation of local government, building grass roots democratic participation in governance, developing the private sector, and harmonious relationship between the different tiers and arms of government in the state.
Participants at the workshop included the 20 council chairmen, their deputies and secretaries, while resource persons who delivered lectures were drawn from the academia, the private sector and the MDGs office. The gathering addressed vital issues of principles and practice of local government administration, team work, total quality management and enhanced revenue generation capacities.
The workshop, according to the state government, provided a framework that was conducive for addressing peculiar needs of the people, without recourse to both the state and federal governments at all time. The seminar also provided opportunity for participants to exchange ideas on how to fashion-out enduring strategies that enable the tier of government perform its onerous responsibility of making life worth living for the people at the grass roots level.
Amosun said the theme of the retreat: “Enhancing Local Government Administration in Ogun” came at the right time because experience has shown that development at the local government level has been a serious concern to advocates of grass root development.
The governor admitted to inadequate funding occasioned by the global economic recession, adding that the situation has affected the capacities by local councils to execute developmental projects across the country. He, however, added that what is left behind for the running of the councils and provision of essential services are either deployed to the payment of salaries civil servants or entitlements of political office holders.
Amosun, therefore, challenged the new council chairmen to be ready to take tough decisions that would engender development within the 20 council areas of the state, adding that the current poor performance can be improved upon if the new leadership was ready to initiate developmental programmes.
Special Adviser to the Ogun State governor on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Mrs. Hafsat Abiola-Costello, charged the participants on the goals of MDGs.
“Be ready to take tough decisions and be ready to make enemies when you do things not based on people’s expectations. Do things uniquely to effect change that is needed. Local governments are needed to achieve the overall development of states in line with MDGs’ policy. So, think about what you can do uniquely in your various councils. If you continue to do things the same way the previous council administrators had been doing it, you will continue to perform poorly.”
In his address, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Olumuyiwa Oladipo, urged the council bosses to ensure the maximization of their limited resources. He said there was the need for local government administrators to be prudent in their spending in order to maximize their meagre allocation.
Prof. Ayo Olukotun of the Political Science Department, Leed City University in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, in a paper entitled: “Leadership in Governance at the Local Government Level: Barriers and Success Drivers”, started by explaining that leadership is a process of social influence in which one or more persons can enlist the aid and support of others to achieve common objectives.
The university don made it known that a leader is a person who has a mission, a drive and a commitment to achieve the mission and the skills to make it happen. He said leadership involves setting direction, creating alignment, motivating others to achieve the leaders’ decisions and goals as their own.
Speaking on the international dimensions of government at the grass roots, he said broad factors in the international area affecting local governments include increasing urbanisation, the rise of cities as global actors in their own rights as well as persisting economic recession which has shrunk the amount of money available to local governments and municipality.
“The top heavy and vertical geography of power in the Nigerian federation implies that local governments are at the lowest wrongs of the power equation and are often treated as subservient entities,” he said.
One of the participants, Chairman Odeda local council, Mr. Suleimon Adebayo, who shared his experience after the 3-day workshop, said the initiative by Amosun was commendable.
“We are properly cooked now ahead of the task of council administration. By the time we return to office, what we were taught here will be put to practice and we’ll also propagate the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the grass roots. One of the areas that is of great concern to us is the issue of improving the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) which has not been properly handled.”
“We need to re-orientate our people, let them know and see why taxes should be paid. We will use what we have on ground to get what we need to achieve because issue of no funds should not be an excuse for us not to perform.”
One of the resource persons, Dr. Remi Aiyede, from Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan said in his lecture entitled: “The Need for Synergy between Executive and Legislature for Goals Attainment” that managing legislature-executive relations has been a major problem since the return to democratic rule in 1999.
“Such gridlocks are often assumed to arise whenever different parties control the presidency and congress, although such gridlocks are not limited to situations of divided government alone,” he said, adding that in a presidential system, friction between the legislature and executive is inevitable. “A cordial relationship between the two branches of government poses difficult leadership challenges to the occupant of these offices, which Nigerian political elite has not been able to effectively manage.”