Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
Over six months after sacking elected council chairmen in all the 33 local government areas and 35 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs), the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, yesterday inaugurated 68 caretaker chairmen to oversee the local government areas and the LCDAs of the state, declaring that the councils must be centres of development.
Makinde, who was speaking at the swearing-in ceremony held inside the House of Chiefs, Parliament Building, in Agodi, Ibadan, said the caretaker chairmen must contribute meaningfully to the development of the state, urging them to serve as the eyes, ears and mouths of the government in its effort to deliver good governance to the people.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted Makinde as saying that the inauguration of the local government chairmen was taking place in order to avoid a vacuum in governance at the grassroots level.
He said the intention of his administration is to ensure that the people of the state continue to enjoy the dividends of democracy, stating that his government is a people-centred government poised to continue to put the interests of the people of state first.
The governor’s aide also said Makinde’s decision to inaugurate the councils was to ensure that the closest level of government to the people is fully functional such that the councils could make meaningful impacts on their lives.
According to him, “What we are doing here today, inaugurating the local governments and local council development areas caretaker chairpersons, is to ensure that a vacuum is not created in governance, and that our people continue to enjoy the dividends that accrue from electing a legitimate government.
“I have often stated that this administration is people-centered, and that it will continue to put the interests of the people first. You will agree with me that the closer the government is to the people, the more impactful and meaningful the activities of the government will be to them.
“Therefore, this inauguration is an integral and essential part of the good governance that we promised the people of Oyo State.
“Permit me to use this occasion to share a few reminders with the caretaker-chairmen-designates. You are indeed occupying unique positions as a link between the state government and the people.
“Ideally, you are the first point of call that should address the governance issues of the people before escalating same to higher authorities.
“Therefore, if we are to compare Oyo State to an enterprise with many branches, you are the branch supervisors taking responsibility of the affairs of the company at a local level.”
Makinde, who noted that the new caretaker chairmen would be the eyes, ears and mouths of the government in engendering development and bringing good governance to the people at the grassroots, urged the chairmen to carry out key functions in driving the policy actions of the government in the areas of security, health, education and economic expansion to ensure accelerated development for the state.