By Fred Iwenjora
Many reasons have been proffered as to why there is executive non performance in the local government system in Nigeria.
While some have blamed low funding believed to be caused by the non autonomy of the LGA system which they claim reduces the powers of the Chairman and his officers to whims of the state Chief executive, some others have blamed the ravaging recession as well as other sundry reasons as why life at the local government level is very low.
It has even become a cliché that subventions and allocations to the LGAs are only for payment of salaries only..
However, rather than join the bandwagon of executive complainants who defend their abject non performance in the Local Government system in Nigeria, Honorable Monsuru Obe, Executive Chairman Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, one of the 57 in Lagos is singing a new and different song and changing the paradigm.
Obe seems to be in a great race to deliver his own dividends of democracy to his constituents than giving excuses and anything else thereby breaking a record in Nigeria’s history. In just about sixty days after his swearing in ceremony, he has constructed three roads, built two health centers and roaring to add three schools to the achievements before he marks his first 100 days in office.
In a chat while supervising one of the numerous road construction projects he spoke on what drives him and why he is in a haste to deliver.
You seem to be in a great haste since your swearing in ceremony? You are hardly in the office except for meetings…
Yes, I agree. I am in a haste to deliver on my manifesto. I had told the electorate during my campaign that I would do this and that. It was a promise clearly stated and circulated. I know that a promise is a debt which I must pay. I also believe that I must begin to fulfill my promise as soon as possible without delay because time is of great essence. I am not one to give excuses for not keeping promises. So you are correct if you say I am in haste. I must visit the health centers under construction or the schools and the roads daily for personal supervision. I have been running a very tight schedule these days.
But they say LGA allocations are only for salaries…?
That is what they say but I disagree. My experience as Vice Chairman of Ejigbo under Hon Kehinde Bamigbetan opened my eyes about what leadership at the local government level is all about so I came very prepared and experienced on how to deliver on my manifesto. I see governance as a God given opportunity to serve the people and no time should be wasted while doing the job. The masses have been enduring for long so wasting time on the saddle is uncalled for.
Prudent and strategic management of the so called low funding is the crux of the matter. You have to be very prudent in allocating the resources. Again the determination to get things done no matter all the odds is another factor. Where there is a will there must be a way.
What informed your choice of the locations for the roads, the schools and health centers?
It was strategic thinking. Population of residents keeps increasing that we reasoned that more schools and health centers are necessary so that pupils don’t have to trek so far to school while health care won’t be far to get for pregnant women, nursing mothers and children especially.
For the roads, we thought about the most strategic roads to link up with ease. The stretch of Mosalashi road linking up to the NNPC road is strategic just like the Rafiu Tijani is important to link up with the famous busy Egbe road in the LCDA. We have also done some palliative activities on state roads to make it passable until on- going work gets there.