Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has inaugurated 68 caretaker chairmen to oversee the 33 local governments and 35 Local Council Development Areas of the State in the state, declaring that the councils must be centres of development.
The Governor, who was speaking at the swearing-in ceremony held inside the House of Chiefs, Parliament Building, Agodi, Ibadan, said that the caretaker chairmen must contribute meaningfully to the development of the state.
He asked them to serve as the eyes, ears and mouths of the Government in its effort to deliver good governance.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted Governor 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.
According to him, the intention of his administration is to ensure that the people of Oyo State continue to enjoy the dividends of democracy.
Makinde stated that his government is a people-centred government that will continue to put the interests of the people of Oyo State first.
He also said that his 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.
He said: “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 said that this administration is people-centered and will continue to put the interests of the people first. You will agree with me that the closer government is to the people, the more impactful and meaningful the activities of 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 Oyo State.
“In some circles, you will be said to be the eyes and ears of government. But when we say eyes and ears, we overlook another important function. If God had created humans with only eyes and ears, then it would mean that he only wants us to see and listen. But in all His wisdom, he did not leave off giving us a mouth.
“Therefore, in this instance, you will not only be our eyes and ears, but you will also be our mouth. You will see, you will listen and you will speak.
“What are some aspects of governance that you will be carrying out these oversight functions? Well, they are indeed many and varied. But I will talk about a few very important ones, given the needs of Oyo State at this time. Please bear in mind the four main pillars of our Roadmap to Accelerated Development in Oyo State, namely Education, Healthcare, Security, and the Economy through trade and agribusiness.
“As an administration, we are very interested in the education of our children. The Commissioner of Education can confirm we have started distributing the compendium of past questions to the SSS 3 students in all secondary schools in Oyo State. Our goal in education is to ensure no child is out-of-school.
“I would be happy to see your plans to make sure that children get off the streets and into the classrooms. I know you will have more opportunities to liaise with the parents in a bid to implement our free education policies.
“You will also be in a better position to report any issues that may be working against this policy. In this, we need you to be our eyes, ears, and mouth. So, see what is going on, listen to the complaints and challenges the parents have and talk to them about our plans.
“Another key aspect I want to mention is with markets and small businesses. We are very interested in the growth of our economy through agriculture and trade. The economy of Oyo State cannot grow if small businesses do not thrive and this will mean our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) cannot grow either. One of the points we raised during our campaign is how multiple taxation is killing businesses. We want to remove all the roadblocks to business growth.
“Therefore, we will be expecting you to work with local businesses and the State Internal Revenue Board to make sure that people are happy doing business in Oyo State at the local level. Let us know what the challenges are so that we can work together to resolve them.
“I will not end this short speech without raising the issue of refuse disposal. One of the major functions of the Local Government Authority is to be responsible for waste removal. I expect that you will go around the areas to which you are assigned and see things for yourself, and hear the challenges our people are having with solid waste disposal.
“As I stated during my last media chat, by the first quarter of 2020, the challenges with refuse disposal will be a thing of the past and we will have a seamless system in place. So, I am putting you to task to work with the Commissioner for the Environment and Natural Resources, Honourable Kehinde Ayoola and the Oyo State Waste Management Authority (OYOWMA) to provide the necessary input to make this plan a reality. Data is key. So, let us have the data as we plan for costing and implementation.
“Once again, I welcome all 68 of you Caretaker Chairpersons. I enjoin you to contribute your meaningful quota to ensuring that we move Oyo State forward.”
Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde