Pilfering of local govt funds: God bless Tinubu, by Wale Adedayo

Excellent greetings to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his Administration’s resolve to solve the problem of Federal Allocations to Local Governments once and for all. The suit filed by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Alhaji Lateef Fagbemi, at the Supreme Court of Nigeria against the 36 state Governors is a welcome development.

I was illegally removed from office for pointing this out and also charged in court for lying against the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun. I pray Abiodun will direct both the DSS and Police to arrest Mr. Fagbemi, as I spent three days in DSS custody and another three days in Abeokuta Prison for this contrived offence. At least, Mr. Fagbemi has also committed the same offense, which I was accused of now.

Many efforts had been made in the past. But these have come to nought. State Governors, who’ll answer to God on the Last Day will always throw spanners into any work to stop the freebies they get from pilfering local government funds.

Many do not understand the importance of local government administration beyond what they read in the newspapers or the laws setting the third tier of the Nigerian Government up. It is like taking a bath and pouring water on the head. Of course, the whole body up to the feet will feel the cooling and cleansing effects of the water. You can then imagine the Governors, occupying the belly region, stopping the water from flowing down! What will you get? Dryness at the very bottom!

With the way our economy is today, IF the local governments are actually funded, the pains of ordinary people will reduce considerably. In each local government, local people can get small jobs to do. They can repair broken down schools, primary healthcare centers, sink boreholes and get quality support for agriculture. Nobody in a local environment will make some money and head to an urban centre to spend such. The money will largely stay in that local place. And, once money flows all around through small jobs and others from the local government, how will the people not be happy?

Besides, it is a slap on the face of a local government chairman, who promised people during his campaign to do some things not being able to do so because a tin God of a Governor will not release duly allocated funds. The Governors are destroying the political careers of people who contest for elections at the local government level. What project will a Councillor facilitate for his/her community, when the chairman is already chained? Yes, some can argue that they got to office on the goodwill of the Governors. Thus, local government Chairmen should not complain because that’ll be like ‘fighting’ their benefactors. I always refer such people to two things:

  1. The oath we took before taking office is to our constituents and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, not ANY Governor. We can only be loyal to the people we serve, not an individual who was also elected like us.
  2. Many claim that local government election results are often written by the state electoral commission. Not in my local government during my election. It was a keenly contested election. To our people, many believe we were contesting for Governor.
  3. During my campaigns, I always took an oath with the land where ever I go to. I removed my shoes and walk barefooted to have a linkage with the ancestors of the different places I went to campaign. And my promise was always that if I don’t do what I promised, the ancestors of the people should punish me. How do I explain being denied funds to fulfill my electoral promises? Maybe one should have included curses for any Governor who withhold our funds.

I once told Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, that if he allows the local governments to function properly, he’ll be the one most people will praise on the streets. The example I gave him is still there. Otunba Gbenga Daniel left office in 2011, that is about 13 years ago! Yet, there is none of the 20 local governments and 236 Wards in Ogun State, where you’ll not see one project or the other with OGD’s name on it. Boreholes, Electricity transformers, markets, etc, they are all over the place! But OGD never executed any of these projects. It was the Chairmen at the time he was in office, who did. His name was just put there to honour him. How many people remember such Chairmen today, even in their former domains? It is OGD everybody remembers.

Secondly, and as pointed out earlier, till date, many in Ogun State still vouch till date that money flowed seriously when OGD was in office. Of course, it was not as if he was dispensing money to everybody. People got jobs through local contracts. Most importantly, contracts given out by the state government during OGD’s time always have a caveat, that local people MUST be given assignments through which they can make money. You cannot rehabilitate a road without asking local people to supply water, granite or sand. Something MUST go to the people in that local area!

It is our prayer that the Supreme Court will intervene, and speedily too, so that succour will come the way of the suffering masses of our people. God bless Tinubu! God bless Nigeria!!!

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