By Moses Adeniyi
Newly installed Chairmen of the 57 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in Lagos State were on Thursday overcharged for responsiveness and performance in the discharge of their duties by top functionaries of the State.
The charges to the Chairmen flooded the opening of a three-day retreat organised by the State Government through its Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs.
It would be recalled that at the swearing-in ceremony of the Council Chairmen on Tuesday, 27th, July, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had promised that a retreat to enhance their capacity to get them ready for duty and demands of office would be organised.
The opening of the retreat on Thursday which witnssed key functionaries including traditional rulers, members of the Governors’ Advisory Council (GAC), Commissioners, among other political stakeholders, was greeted with efforts directed at putting the installed Chairmen on their toes.
In his charge to the Chairmen, Governor Sanwo-Olu enjoined them to prioritise result-oriented programmes that will address poverty and accelerate good governance at the grassroots.
Governor Sanwo-Olu who charged them along the theme of the induction, tagged: “Engendering Peace, Security and Development at the Grassroots”, called on them to be committed to following the direction of progressive ideology as encapsulated in the manifesto of the party under which they were elected.
He reminded the Council Chairmen that the manifesto of the party on whose platform they were all elected, gave priority to programmes focusing on development and people’s welfare.
Imploring them to sustain the support, trust and confidence of the people by promoting purposeful, result-oriented and inclusive governance, he urged them to treat the baton of leadership bestowed on them with respect and dignity.
He said: “The critical role of the Local Government in facilitating the delivery of the dividends of democracy at the grassroots cannot be over-emphasised.
“As you settle down in your new positions, it is incumbent upon you to continue to earn the support, trust and confidence of the people by promoting purposeful, result-oriented and inclusive governance, a foundation laid out by our leader and benefactor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“As leaders elected under the platform of the APC, you must be committed to following the direction and progressive ideology of the party as encapsulated in the manifesto.
“The party’s people-centred ideas and programmes have, over the years, been implemented meticulously at the Federal level and in Lagos to the admiration and satisfaction of our people, who, in return, have remained consistent and unwavering in their support and loyalty to our party.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu who further urged the Chairmen to steer clear from embarking on projects that would not be beneficial to their communities, charged them on the need to commit their statutory allocations to goals that would have substantial impacts on their various communities.
While enjoining them to harmonise their policies and programmes with the State Government’s development agenda – Project T.H.E.M.E.S – for coordinated impact, the Governor urged them against playing politics with development, saying their tenure would be assessed by impactful development recorded under their leadership.
Sanwo-Olu further said: “As Local Government Chief Executives, you have important responsibilities as Security Officers in your domains, serving as an early-warning security system for law enforcement and security agencies, and for the State Government.
“You must have your eyes and ears to the ground, working closely with local and traditional institutions, market, transport and artisan unions, youth groups, and religious organisations to defuse those seemingly minor tensions that have the tendency to blow up into unmanageable situations.”
The State’s Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, in his charge, intimated the Council Chairmen on contemporary challenges facing leaders across the world, noting that there had been a growing resentment towards leaders perceived to be anti-people in the discharge of their duties.
Hamzat, who spoke on a subject “The challenges of leaders today”, advised the chairmen not to create void between themselves and members of their communities.
“Every council chairman must understand his localised challenges and realities through which he will constantly engage the people,” he said.
in his charge, GAC Chairman, Prince Tajudeen Olusi, who served as councillor in the colonial era, described council chairmen as “fathers” of their communities, stressing that they must prioritise the welfare of the residents and serve the people to the best of their ability.
According to Olusi, the Chairmen now shouldered enormous responsibilities, mentioning that their election was a call to service.
“You have the responsibility to put the name of the party in good light,” he said.
In his remarks, Oba of Lagos, Rilwanu Akiolu, said only the development initiated by the Council Chairmen would stand them out for people’s recognition.
The monarch who cautioned them against chasing after wealth to the detriment of their communities, stressed that such an attempt would taint their tenure and embarrass their political party.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Dr. Wale Ahmed, said the retreat underscores the need to ensure that Chairmen of the 57 LGs and LCDAs of the State “grasp policies that would help stimulate socio-economic development at the grassroots and also engender the dream of Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy.”
According to him, the retreat would be essentially veritable for new Chairmen who just emerged the choice of the electorates to learn significant subject about result-oriented Council administration, synonymous with Lagos State.
“While I totally agree that returning Chairmen might be in tune with requisite skills for Council administration, some of the new Honourable Chairmen would certainly appreciate this window of opportunity, to learn a thing or two about result-oriented Council administration, synonymous with Lagos State which has made us the envy and admiration of other States in the Federation,” he said.
Appreciating Governor Sanwo-Olu for acceding to the actualisation of what he described as a “well-timed Retreat”, he said “with this Retreat and the implementation of the policies and ideas that will be discussed here, Lagos State will continue on the pathway of a progressive, notable and even development that will affect every fibre of the State.”
“Through this Retreat, Chairmen should be able to map out templates that would help them build strong and lasting institutions.”
He urged the Chairmen to put the knowledge gained from the retreat to good use in their “positions of leadership by re-working flawed programmes and collectively chart a new course for improved administration in the State.