Last Tuesday, Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola constituted 31 new LCDAs, three area councils and two administrative offices for ease of administration. Although the governor has dismissed fears that their creation would constitute a financial burden on the state, a majority of people think otherwise, writes Yinka Kolawole
The Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, last week reiterated that his administration would make judicious use of its revenues in such a way that the newly created councils would constitute no financial burden. This was even as he dissolved the management committees of the existing 30 Local Councils and Area Offices as well as their executive secretaries, deputy executive secretaries, members, special advisers and other functionaries.
The governor said this in a statewide broadcast on the creation of additional 31 Local Council Development Areas, three area councils and two administrative offices. The request for additional local councils by the people after several legal procedures was sent to the state House of Assembly as an executive bill.
The assembly in turn, looked into the bill, set up a committee and subsequently, a referendum was held on February 19, 2015, in which the people of the state overwhelmingly gave a Yes vote on the bill. The assembly passed the bill creating 31 new Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs), three area councils and two administrative offices, and subsequently signed into law by the governor.
Aregbesola, while speaking on why the state had created more councils at this material time of financial challenges, held that his administration had given it sufficient consideration and had put in place, procedures that would cost less and save money, while at the same time, engender rapid development. He added that the primary responsibilities of the newly created councils are to bring development to the people, market management, revenue mobilisation and generation among many others instrumental to the yearnings of the people.
The governor argued that the state would be saving huge cost with the new system, adding that the same number of staff would still run all the councils and no new appointments would be made to the existing ones. He hinted that the entire local government system would be managed by council managers for three months, who in turn shall be appointed and deployed by Local Government Service Commission from among the substantive grade level 14 officers in the local governments.
“Many would be wondering and asking: why create more councils at this special time of financial challenges? We have also given sufficient consideration to this. With this new parliamentary system, it will cost less to run the new councils and save a lot of money for the government than in the past.
“The primary responsibilities of our new local government system are sanitation, market management and revenue mobilisation and generation. This is consistent with local government administration worldwide. The beauty of this new system is its parliamentary nature, which requires the chairman and the vice chairman to be elected by the
councilors from among their own ranks, thereby saving cost,” the governor said.
He contended that the creation of additional local government should not be seen as alien in the sense that in advanced democracies, the local government controls the police and provides many municipal services to the people. The governor also highlighted other importance of the local government, saying the usefulness of this smallest tier of government cannot be overstated.
According to him, “It is why the government is designed to be closest to the people. While you need to follow some protocols for reasons of security and tight schedule before having an audience with a minister, a state governor or the president, you can walk in on your local government chairman or other officials of the council.
“Also, because the geographical space of the local government makes it the smallest unit of administration, it is easier to get things done at this level. The local government is also the ideal training ground for political leadership,” he said.
However, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state has congratulated the people and government of Osun for the creation of new local governments announced by Governor Aregbesola. According to the party, “It is a joyful culmination of the long standing aspiration of the people to have government closest to their communities.
The party especially congratulated the governor for painstakingly
following the constitutional process required to create new local
governments. This sentiment was expressed by the chairman of the party, Gboyega Famodun, in a statement made available to the media.
Famodun said: “This is one great moment for Osun because the landmark achievements of creating new local governments will further enhance peace within and between communities of the state as well as increase the potential for more efficient internally generated revenue
for the state as well as for the local governments.”
He therefore said “The ball is now in the court of the people to demonstrate their appreciation through dedicated effort at keeping the new as well as the old local councils running.”
He also called on the people “To stand firm and fully give their support to the government which in spite of the financial challenges the state is going through, Osun is not standing still. It is not stagnant, but moving on with positive steps to bring the best it could afford to the people.”
But a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart, Mr. Ajijola Nurudeen, said the action of the governor was not good enough, now that the state is critically sick, financially. He condemned the move and said Aregbesola seemed not to know what he was doing with the recent economic condition of the state, adding that for him to have taken the steps, he was not helping the state at all.
The governor argued that the state would be saving huge cost with the new system, adding that the same number of staff would still run all the councils and no new appointments would be made to the existing ones. He hinted that the entire local government system would be managed by council managers for three months
A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart, Mr. Ajijola Nurudeen, said the action of the governor was not good enough, now that the state is critically sick, financially. He condemned the move and said Aregbesola seemed not to know what he was doing with the recent economic condition of the state