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Under Makinde, Local Government Has Become The Farthest To The People | Ademola ‘Bablow’ Babalola

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It’s another season to go to the polls in Oyo state to vote again for those that the management of all the 33 local government areas across the state will be handed over to to oversee and preside over for another three years.

Without a doubt, the journey of three years in the administration of LGAs isn’t something to joke with for the reason that local government is the only tier or level of government that the people at the grassroots level have direct link with. And this is exactly the reason I think the question of how well all the 33 LGAs in Oyo state for the past three years are being managed should arise before another votes are cast.
Walking around and surveying all the nooks and crannies of Oyo state, one will observe that the impacts of the L.G chairmen and councillors that were before being felt by common people at the most basic level are long gone into extinction. Or how often projects are being executed by L.G chairmen since the start of the present administration?
Of course the lamentations of the people of Oyo state is perfectly understandable owing to the fact that the current governor in the state has completely stripped all the L.G chairmen and councillors of their responsibilities.
The responsibilities of construction and maintenance of roads that belong to LGAs; maintenance and regulation of markets, motor parks and public conveniences; provision and maintenance of refuse disposal systems; control and regulation of outdoor advertising; licencing of trucks among others are being taken away from the councilmen. These primary duties of LG chairmen are now major projects of the state government, the act that slow the development of both the LGAs and the state down.
“Local Government is the nearest government to people”, they say. But I don’t think this is the case in Oyo state at the moment. In the state today, Local Government is the farthest government to people. Our local councils are unarguably no more accessible.
Oyo people wonder why the councilmen today seldomly identify with their constituents. They’re rarely seen in their communities nowadays. Obviously they’re afraid to show their faces owing to the fact that there are few or nothing to present as scorecards or achievements since the beginning of their tenures some years back.

I’m not at all surprised that council chairmen in Oyo state are tamed and rendered incapacitated for no one  practices what he/she does not believe in. It’s only governors who believe in the autonomy of local government that allow third tier of government to thrive. Does Gov Makinde believe in the autonomy of local government? This is the topic for another day.

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Like I mentioned earlier, it’s another season of LGAs election in the state. The questions I think should be in the minds of Oyo state people are, can we afford to continue watching the degradation and deterioration that are widespread at the grassroots across the state for the next three years? What exactly is going to end the unending lackadaisical attitude or lip service the present administration pay to the development of LGAs in the state in the next three years? These questions are necessary, most especially now that LG elections in Oyo state are fast approaching.
There are total number of 19 political parties and over 4,900 candidates getting prepared to compete for 33 chairmanship and 351 councillorship seats in the forthcoming elections in the state. This shows the fact that the opposition parties are ready to wrest power from the ruling party at the local level unlike before when other parties boycotted LG elections. Isn’t this the time for the electorate to exploit and utilize this opportunity to use their thumbs to correct the situation? Isn’t this the time to turn the tide? Or should it be business as usual?
I took pain to listen to the Publicity Secretaries of the two major parties, All Progressive Party (APC) and People Democratic party (PDP), in the state. From their views and utterances, I think it’s incumbent on us to encourage the electorate to pay attention to what both parties have in stock for them.
According to a report in The Nigerian Tribune, Mr Olawale Sadare, the Publicity Secretary of the APC, assured the people of Oyo state that the party was prepared to change the status quo. He said that the APC was ready to stop the plan by the PDP to annihilate the third tier of government in Oyo state, and that the APC would do all in their power to revamp and resuscitate the local government system that the current administration has rendered incapacitated.
In his own submission, Mr Michael Ogunsina, the Publicity Secretary of the PDP, only hinged his confidence on what he described as the popularity of Gov Seyi Makinde. Instead of mentioning how well the LGAs in Oyo state were being managed since his party took over the administration of the state – the leverage the PDP would have relied on to prove to people they deserve another opportunity to manage the local councils for another three years – Mr Ogunsina only believed that Mr governor’s popularity, but not account of PDP stewardship, was enough to convince the electorate.
Now that the umpire, Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC), has declared April 27, 2024 as the date the electorate will go to the polls to vote for the candidates of their choices, it’s logical to persuade the voters, before they cast their votes, to reflect on their experiences as regards the obliteration of LGAs in the state. What has really changed in Oyo LGAs since the current government took over the administration of the state is another question to ask. This is important because another three years of negligence to LGAs development could spell doom for the entire state.
And to Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission, OYSIEC, it’s important to note that now is the time to correct the wrong of the past. It’s necessary for the commission to rewrite history and rejuvenate their integrity. The vicious insinuation and heavy allegation that State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) usually play biased roles in LG elections must be a thing of the past. All the parties must be afforded a level playing ground, and this I believe will bring the confidence the electorate have lost in the commission back.
Ademola ‘Bablow’ Babalola
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