OpinionOPINION: Local Govt Reforms In Bayelsa Working

OPINION: Local Govt Reforms In Bayelsa Working

July 10, (THEWILL) – In 2022, the Bayelsa State Government, under the prosperity administration of Governor Douye Diri, kick-started the local government reforms, targeted at improving grassroots governance, many were sceptical.

But with the records of great firsts in the areas of improved infrastructure, prompt salary and pension payment, probity and accountability and savings by local Government councils, many have come to agree that local government administration can work if properly guided.

A look at the last set of Local Government administrators and the current elected Local Government leadership and Rural Development Authorities showed that the stories of Local Government administration in Bayelsa State have changed for good and it is indeed working!

With the prosperity reset, the era of inefficiency, corruption and non-performance associated with Local Government administration has been reduced and eliminated.

Governor Douye Diri, through proper supervision by his amiable Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has redefined the LG administration. And it is visible to all in the state and beyond.

The Prosperity administration has ensured that Local Government funds remained exclusive for running of the respective councils including regular payment of salaries and project execution.

It is on record that the last caretaker administration left office and ensured Local Government administration started on a good footing under the newly elected Council officials.

The introduction of the Rural Development Areas (RDA), by the State Government has further deepened development and taken governance to the door steps of the interior communities of the State.

In a deliberate move to restore financial order, streamline the recurrent expenditures and get the Councils to initiate developmental projects, Governor Diri took a drastic step to change the narrative.

Before the staff verification at the Local Government level, the State Government had to set aside certain funds monthly to support the salary of workers in some of the council areas.

From Yenagoa to Brass, Ekeremor, Ogbia, Nembe, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Sagbama and Southern Ijaw Local Government Areas, it has been a harvest full of projects with commissioning across the LGAs by Governor Diri during the last council administration.

The same story is being told across the Eight Local Government Councils and Rural Development Areas.

Sharing his formula with Former Governor of Delta State, Chief Onanefe James Ibori, during a recent visit to Bayelsa State, Gov Douye Diri noted that his administration has been very transparent in the management of the Local Government funds since he assumed office.

According to him, despite the anomaly and imbalance in the Federal system of governance in the country, his administration has ensured that the local government administration is working and supported to deliver on grassroots infrastructure, savings and performance.

Diri pointed out that his administration has assisted in reforming local government administration and not destroying it as argued in some quarters against the State Governors.

“We came and we saw that the local governments were even unable to pay salaries and we brought out measures as a government. My Deputy Governor was directly in charge of it when those measures were introduced.”

“We discovered that it worked and most local governments can pay salaries today and they have savings. They do not only pay salaries, they pay now with ease. They are also heading into the infrastructural developments. And where they are unable to pay salaries, the state augments them. So, if you say the state governors are the ones eating local government money, I am very sure it is not in Bayelsa State, by extension maybe not in South-South states.”

Governor Diri had equally inaugurated some projects including a road and motor park in Kaiama executed by the then chairman of Kolokuma/Opokuma local government areas.

In Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, an elated Governor Diri inaugurated the executive chairman’s office complex, a 300,000-litre water scheme, a concrete road, a town hall in Amassoma community as well as a 500-seating capacity hall at the council’s headquarters in Oporoma town executed by then chairman, Chief Kia Nigeria.

Indeed, in Bayelsa today under the Prosperity Government, it is a new season, a new development in the management of the Local Government system. Truly, it is no longer business as usual!

*** written by Osaro Okhomina

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