By Segun Awofadeji
Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, has lamented that all the local government areas in the state are existing on overdraft to run their affairs.
The governor, who said Bauchi is the only state in the federation that is suffering from dependence on overdraft, however, assured the state that the problem cannot stop his administration from freeing resources to do projects for the benefits of the citizens.
Mohammed was speaking yesterday during a meeting between him and the chairmen of the 20 local government councils of the state and their deputies, which was held at the Banquet Hall of the Government House in Bauchi.
According to him, “On the local government administration, we will try to free resources, work together, give you some autonomy to do as provided in the law, so that whatever allocation you have from the federation will be going to you directly.”
He added: “The accountant-general is here; he will give you the picture of what was done before that we are carrying the burden in the name of joint project. They have really finished us; all the monies have been spent, and today, we are living on overdraft every month as local government authorities.
“However, we will put heads together to do something so that in the end of your tenure, you will be proud that at least you have left legacies and landmarks behind.”
The governor, while welcoming the chairmen and their deputies over their recent victory at the council polls, said their emergence as the elected executives of the local government areas was a well-deserved one.
He said his administration has ensured the entrenchment of due process, stake-holding and all that is constitutionally required for their emergence as elected chairmen and deputies.
The governor, who said that councils’ chairmen are well known to their subjects, urged them to consider themselves as servants to the electorate who voted them into their offices.
He warned the council chairmen against personal aggrandisement and to avoid joining issues that are not supposed to be for the benefit of the state or the local government.
The governor however, urged them establish a very sound accountable means of executing projects and programmes that are transparent and within the law so that at the end of the day, the beneficiaries would be the people.
On security, he said: “We are aware that a lot of security problems are being created at the local government level. We are trying our best. If you look at all the areas, we have one form of insecurity or another and some of them can be traced to people that are well known in the local area, sometimes even within the traditional institution, some of them are even community leaders, you are there to make sure that everything possible is done to secure your local government areas; you should know that you are the chief security officers of your local council, you should work with the security agencies.”