Oyebanji Swears-in New Council Chairmen, Urges Focus on Security, IGR
The Ekiti State governor, Biodun Oyebanji, on Thursday, sworn-in the 38 new Local government chairmen and their vice, urging them to place high premium on radical improvement on security of lives and property as well as revenue generation in their respective council areas.
Oyebanji also gave a marching order to the council chairmen to rev up the pedal of development by building on the strong foundation laid by their predecessors, adding that his administration would not tolerate any form of security lapses at the third tier of government under their watch.
The governor stated these in Ado- Ekiti on Thursday, during the inauguration ceremony for the new council chairmen held at Osuntokun Pavillion, Government House, Ado-Ekiti.
The new council chairmen were elected on December 2, 2023.
Addressing the new council bosses, Oyebanji, represented by the deputy governor, Chief (Mrs) Monisade Afuye, described the local government as an integral part of overall development focus and strategy of his government that required adequate attention to tackle the menace of poverty, joblessness and insecurity.
The governor praised the immediate past chairmen and those that were re-elected for demonstrating enough political and administrative acumen to deliver, in spite of the multifarious challenges associated with being pioneers.
Stoutly expressing zero tolerance for corruption and pilfering of council funds, the governor urged them to discharge their duties with utmost “honesty, impartiality , even-handness , compassion and fairness”, adding that they must work assiduously for the actualisation of the shared prosperity mantra of his government.
The Èkiti State chief executive revealed that he decided to put machinery in motion for the conduct of election at the local government level to further corroborate how desirous he was for the councils to be run in a democratic manner.
He saluted the former chairmen for their outstanding performances and for being shrewd and dexterous in playing local politics that was chiefly associated with the running of local government system, saying this reflected in their acceptability and connectivity with the people.
On his commitment to stamp out bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements out of Ekiti, the governor charged the chairmen to prioritise security at all times, adding “you must be deliberate about this.”
“Your security plans and strategies should be communicated to me through the office of Special Adviser on Security , as soon as you take over. I will not tolerate security lapses in your domains, therefore, ensure all critical stakeholders are carried along and are involved”, the governor said.
Oyebanji advised the new council bosses against relying solely on the funds accruing to them from the federation and state accounts to run the affairs of the councils, to avert administrative failure and inability to fulfil their electioneering promises.
“You need money to run a successful administration. It is not enough to rely on federal and state allocations, you have to improve your internally generated revenue and ensure it forms a sizeable source of your funding revenue.
“One of your major performance metric will be how much IGR you generate and how much it contributes to your project financing. Government will be looking at the possibility of giving conditional, mileage-incentive to councils with significant IGR improvement”. he said.
On his resolve to bolster the potentials of youth and artisans, Oyebanji, said his government is sensitive to local content in project execution, directing the council chairmen to patronise local contractors, while not ruling out the possibility of direct labour in execution of projects in exceptional cases.
“Let me reiterate my call on the local government leadership that this administration is very sensitive to to local content in project execution. While the need for direct labour may be inevitable, in certain circumstances, it shouldn’t be the norm but exception.
“Our shared prosperity mantra is to the effect that all socioeconomic opportunities must go round. Let local contractors with proven track records of performances and delivery benefit in job execution at the grassroots level”he added
Oyebanji appealed to the council chairmen to manage their local politics in most effective fashion to mitigate political crises or hostilities that can tinker with peace being savoured by the citizens from rearing their ugly heads.
The Chairman of Ajoni LCDA, Hon. Michael Ogungbemi, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, pledged that they would work hard to surpass the expectations of the governor in their performances.
Ogungbemi added that the new council bosses would complement the governor’s deft move to rescue Ekiti from poverty, by replicating his policies at the local government level.
In attendance at the event were the wife of the governor, Dr Olayemi Oyebanji; member House of Representatives, Rt Hon Femi Bamisile; Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Adeoye Aribasoye; members of the state executive council and the state House of Assembly.
Others included traditional rulers, and chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) among others.