Kudos, knocks trail Gov Ajimobi’s plan to create 35 LCDAs in Oyo

Kudos, knocks trail Gov Ajimobi’s plan to create 35 LCDAs in Oyo

SHARE

Mixed reactions have continued to trail the recent decision of the Oyo State Government to create 35 Local Council Development Authorities in addition to the existing 33 local government area councils in the state.
While some stakeholders see it as a development, which will give room for wider political participation, the concern of others is the appropriateness and timing of the initiative.
The Governor Abiola Ajimobi administration had recently announced plans to implement the 2002 gazetted law creating 35 Local Council Development Areas out of the existing 33 Local Government Areas in the state.
The law was gazetted during the administration of the late governor Lamidi Adesina. According to the government, the move was also in response to a correspondence from the state House of Assembly requesting the Executive arm to create LCDAs in order to facilitate development at the grassroots.
The government in a statement, recalled that the state Assembly’s sitting on Thursday, June 16, 2016, discussed a motion bearing on the creation of LCDAs.
The Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr. Gbade Ojo, who revealed government plans, said that the creation of the LCDAs would hasten development in local communities and bring government closer to the people, without incurring additional expenses, as workers on government payroll in the existing councils would be deployed in the proposed LCDAs.
Ojo had said, “During the sitting of the Oyo State House of Assembly on Thursday 16th June 2016, the House deliberated on a motion titled, “Need to Establish Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) for effective Grassroots Development.” The House assured that creating two or three LCDAs from each of the existing 33 Local Government Areas would accelerate even development in the State.
“The House consequently resolved that the government of Oyo State be urged to take proactive measures to establish Local Council Development Areas, depending on population and landmass, to ensure that development gets to every community in the state.”
According to the governor’s chief of staff, the 35 LCDAs would be created in line with the political and zonal administrative structure of the state, which includes 14 LCDAs for the Ibadan zone, two for the Ibarapa zone, four for the Oyo zone, seven for the Ogbomoso zone and eight for the Oke-ogun zone.
The COS, who was flanked by other executive members after their weekly meeting, added that the Ministry of Justice had been mandated to present an Executive bill to the state House of Assembly to change and implement the law as gazetted by the late Governor Adesina administration, indicating the determination of the present administration to go ahead with the creation of the LCDAs.
Stakeholders, who support the state government on the initiative see the move as a good effort that would bring governance closer to the grassroots and create more opportunities for political participation, while those who oppose the idea hinge their concern on whether the state government has the financial wherewithal to shoulder the extra cost involved in the face of dwindling resources and inability of government to pay workers’ salary arrears. The Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, High Chief Lekan Balogun, applauded the planned creation of the LCDAs, describing it as good development, adding that it would bring governance closer to the people. Balogun, however, expressed fears that the initiative might increase the financial burden of the state government. untitledThe elder statesman, therefore, urged the state government to ensure that the cost of governance should not become skyrocketed at expense of the comfort of the people, who should be ultimate beneficiaries of the system.
But former governor Rasheed Ladoja, who also acknowledged the initiative as a good development, wondered where the state government would get the financial wherewithal to run the LCDAs in the face of her current inability to pay workers’ salaries as at when due.
Ladoja, who spoke through his media aide, Alhaji Bashir Lantinwo, wondered how a government owing workers about five months’ salaries arrears would be able to finance the running of additional 35 LCDAs. While emphasising that the idea in itself was good, the former governor said that its timing was wrong.
He said, “It is a good programme but the timing is very wrong. We are all witnessing how dwindling allocation is affecting the state. They are the government, they have the authority to do whatever they like. The government has the constitutional right to do anything within the law but do they have the financial power to do it? “Where are they going to get the financial capability to run the LCDAs? If they can get the financial power to run it, it is a good thing but unfortunately we are all witnessing the financial situation and how the state is being run.”
Similarly, a former Senate leader, Senator Teslim Folarin, described the planned creation of the 35 LCDAs as a wrong and distractive move on the part of the state government.
According to Folarin, who was also the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2015 general election, the concern of the government at this time should be the diversification of the economy to generate more income. Speaking through his Media Adviser, Mr. Cletus Ilobanafor, the former Senate leader said, “Government needs to focus on agriculture and not venturing into what is not important at the moment. That is not what the state needs now.”
In the same vein, the state chairman of the Accord Party, Lawal Bashiru, expressed shock at the matter, stressing that such an issue shouldn’t even be brought up at a period when the government could not pay it workers their salaries.
The opposition party leader added that the move would only increase government overhead cost, calling it a diversionary effort and a delay tactic against organising the long overdue local government election in the state.
“Personally, it shouldn’t surface at the moment when government can’t pay salaries. It is going to increase overhead. It is a diversionary and a delay tactic. When the state government should be thinking of how to sustain the economy and improve the Internally Generated Revenue, a governor is talking about creating more LCDAs. I think the timing is wrong,” Bashiru said.
Also speaking on the long overdue local government election in the state, he added, “I don’t take the governor seriously any more. This is a governor who has never said anything serious and if he says ten things, hardly will he fulfil one; so why should anyone take such a person seriously?”
The state Chairman of the Labour Party, Mr. Gbenga Olayemi, in his own view expressed skepticism about the intention of the government.
Olayemi also faulted the timing of the initiative, citing the bureaucratic procedure and the financial cost associated with the plan.
Condemning the move, he however called for the autonomy of the existing local government councils in the state.
He said, “We are really skeptical about the idea. Doing something good at the wrong time means it will not work. Obviously, the state doesn’t have the financial muscle to pull this through. Instead of creating LCDAs, why not give autonomy to the existing Local Governments?
“Those at the local governments are not fully developed and are not performing optimally, yet you are talking of creating additional LCDAs. Things don’t work like that. Just like it is happening across the country, the state governor has strangled the councils and they are not functional.
“But I think the governor is only using the move to buy time and find excuses not to conduct the council polls. As good as the idea may be, it is not properly timed,” Olayemi said. But the former national chairman and presidential candidate of the Action Alliance, Mr. Tunde Anifowoshe Kilani, has a different opinion on the issue. untitledKilani said that the creation of the LCDAs was a good development which would create jobs and more opportunities for the people at the grassroots, if well maintained.
“It is a good development for Oyo State as the people at the grassroots have a lot more to benefit. Let’s just hope the government is sincere about it. More so, let’s us hope the government is also ready to address the responsibilities and challenges associated with the move,” he said.
Justifying the rationale for taking the decision to create the LCDAs, the state’s Attorney General, Mr. Seun Abimbola, said, “We are only implementing a law gazetted as far back as 2002 by Lam Adesina’s administration due to intense pressure from all quarters to have even representation in governance and we shall maintain this status until the process gets to the National Assembly for constitutional seal to change the nomenclature from LCDAs to Local Government Areas.”
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Bimbo Kolade, has assured the people of the viability of all the 33 local government councils from which the proposed LCDAs would be created.
Kolade disclosed that the names of the LCDAs would soon be announced after the State House of Assembly must have concluded its own part of the process.
Stunned by the reactions of the opposition groups in the state to the initiative, the ruling All Progressives Congress in the state challenged the former governor and all the critics to seek redress in court rather than resorting to attempting to mislead the public over the issue.
The APC state Director of Publicity and Strategy, Mr. Olawale Sadare, said, “It’s unfortunate to know that some individuals or groups would throw decorum into the wind and kick against a people-oriented plan of action, which implementation was long overdue, after years of neglect.
“That former governor Rashidi Ladoja has, by proxy, kicked against this noble idea of additional LCDAs is not surprising, since the same character was responsible for the failure to implement the enabling law made in 2002. The public would recall that Ladoja came into office through a flawed election in 2003 as he was made to dislodge the administration of Lam Adesina, which had conceived the idea of creating new Local Government Councils but pull it through the implementation stage for obvious reasons.”
He added, “As if confining the implementation process of the Further Amendment of Local Government Bill, 2002 (already gazetted) by the successive Ladoja administration was not enough, the same character could still not hide his hatred for the people 10 years after, as he just commissioned his lackeys in the Accord Party to embark on vigorous campaign against the actualization of the dream aimed at taking governance closer to the people at the grassroots.
“We are so much worried about the decision of some uninformed political bigots to pour away the bath water with the baby in their bid to attract undue attention to themselves. This is so because most discerning minds are aware of the fact that present Oyo State was always shortchanged in the scheme of things as far as creation of new state and local government councils was done by the Babangida and Abacha military juntas.”
He said since another opportunity had presented itself with the present administration ready to do the needful, it was expected that everyone would support Senator Ajimobi on this as well as all his people-oriented programmes.
Sadare said, “On the hand, we would like to encourage all the relevant stakeholders to expedite action on the implementation of the bill as feelers from the public indicate that its endorsement by the present APC government of Senator Abiola Ajimobi was a step in the right direction.
“However, we challenge those dissidents, who may not be comfortable with the development to employ the legal option and not the usual style of setting the people against the government.”

NO COMMENTS