Governor Babatunde Fashola
By Gboyega Akinsanmi
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Wednesday linked low performance of chairmen of Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) to their huge wage bill.
He gave the reason while responding to a question asked by former Deputy Governor of the state, Mrs. Sinatu Ojikutu, on the occasion of his 1,800 days in office, which was held in the state secretariat, Alausa.
Fashola, who gave his account of stewardship to a vast audience from different walks of life, said chairmen of the local councils were apparently writhing under the heavy burden of salary and wage bills among others.
He explained that the local councils, “barely have enough after paying the salary of their workers. This is because the local councils have become third tier of government that we push our children to for employment after their education.
“This is the reality. After the payment of salaries, there is ittle or nothing left for them to deal with. We have targeted within the next few months to collectively work together with the council chairmen. We are planning to work with the councils in the area of Primary Health Care (PHC), sanitation, waste management and primary education. The state government has to bear some of the cost.
“This is because they cannot bear the cost. That is the truth. In the short term, there will be a primary healthcare centres in all the LGAs that will deliver 24 hours services to the residents Both governments are committed to this project and have jointly committed to a reliable primary education,” he said.
The governor also pointed out the decision of both state and local governments “to employ 647 sanitation workers as one of the areas both governments collaborate.
This was in response to the problems in our primary schools. There were no workers who would do the sanitation exercise for the schools.”
According to him, we can work together and we have been working together. There are challenges before the council chairmen given the enormity of their responsibilities. They employ large number of people which include primary school teachers and PHC workers.
He however asked the people to monitor the local government chairmen, saying democracy “does not guarantee good governance. We must accept that democracy is a difficult and challenging way to organise our life.
“This is because it requires that consensus is built. It also requires citizens to get involve. Often time, I tell people that democracy does not guarantee good governance. Democracy is only concern about the process by which the person achieves office.
“Was it by popular vote? Democracy does not guarantee whether the person would be God- fearing or compassionate. Or he will know what to do. All those processes will evolve by you. Am I now engaging that person when he has been properly elected? How many of us engage with our government?”