Local Government Election in Oyo state have been slated for April, 2024.
The election should provide the people of Oyo state ample opportunity to correct the anomalies that characterized Governor Makinde’s handling of the third tier of Government since he became Governor in 2019.
In fairness to Governor Makinde, he never for one second hod his disdain for the existent of the Local Governments as presently constituted.
During a political debate in preparation for the just concluded general election, Governor Makinde, to the shock and bewilderment of the public declared that he never believe in Local Government Administration.
According to him, Nigeria should have two Federating units instead of three.
One should not therefore be surprised that in the thinking of the Governor, the Local Governments are non existent.
He only deals with them as a matter of necessity since section 7 of the Nigerian Constitution of 1979 as amended recognized them and placed them under the States Houses of Assembly.
Though, Governor Makinde, after foot dragging for some months and having been compelled by circumstances, conducted a sham of an election to the Local Governments in May, 2021, he has continued to impoverished the Local Governments, starving them of funds.
Governor Makinde has the unenviable record of a Governor, under whom all the 33 Local Governments could not boast of a kilometer of tarred road or any tangible project.
It so terrible to the extent that the Governor spends Local Government funds on their behalf. The chairman only needs to sign papers without inputs!
For example, the renovation of the Akesan Market in Oyo town was done with the Atiba Local Government funds but the contractor was employed by the state Government.
Arbitrary order of transfer of Local Government funds to state Government coffers is the order of the day under Governor Makinde.
During former president Buhari’s Administration, all the funds released to Oyo state for both the state and the Local Governments were mismanaged by the state Governor.
Similarly, the funds just released by president Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the state and Local Governments were mismanaged by the Governor.
The Governor, through an official of the Ministry of Local Governments ordered the chairmen of Local Governments to transfer a particular lump sum to the account of the state.
I am of the firm view that the Governor have been able to perpetuate this illegality because all the 33 Local Government chairmen were “selected” by him.
The proposed Local Government Election slated for next year April is an opportunity for the people of Oyo state to redeem the local governments and force some kind of good governance at that level.
The joy about the coming election is that the main opposition party in the state, the APC will be participating.
There is no way the Governor will be able to run the Local Governments down the way he has if the Local Governments are headed by a mix of opposition parties and the PDP.
When we currently have is a conspiracy by association.
The coming election is indeed an avenue to break that conspiracy.
I do not share the belief that Local Government election is a business of the Government in power.
It is and should be the business of the people.
Successive Governments have continued to act with impunity because the people allowed it. Though, I must say that Governor Makinde surpasses all his predecessors rolled into one in his own degree of impunity with Local Government Administration.
If the people don’t rise up next year April, I’m afraid, Local Governments in Oyo state will only exist on paper.