The machinery to anchor Niger State Government is now set on the ground. Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has inaugurated his cabinet, elections into the elected positions for the local government area councils too have been held and the chairmen sworn-in.

To make the governance more effective, document to guide the state, the appropriation bill has been presented to the state house of assembly and it is undergoing scrutiny.

The activities of last week were to give a candour to the state. The presentation of the 2019 budget to the tune of N148, 211, 929, 549. 82k was made on the 10 of December which was preceded by the swearing-in of the Head of Service and six permanent secretaries, this swearing-in of the permanent secretary will give the technical backing and impetus for proper actions to be taken on government policies and programmes.

Grassroots development is paramount, hence the 30th November elections into the various elective position of the local government and the swearing-in of the elected chairmen on the 12 of December has come at the time that grassroots development is part of the present government agenda.

The present crop of local chairmen have no room to complain about failure in the discharge of dividends of democracy to their people. I could remember on several occasions Governor Abubakar Sani Bello on different occasion has called for the financial autonomy to LGAs stressing that he can do with what is accrued to the state.

Then came the Federal Government pronouncement of declaring total autonomy to the LGAs, this, however, is not a surprise to Governor Bello, already he is an advocate for LG autonomy.

Governor Bello already knows the trend associated with local government; therefore he has called for them to collaborate with the Niger State Board of Internal Revenue to get revenue to work for the people.

The governor warned them to take note of the new tax regime, a unified tax system and so they have not to work the extra hard and to desist from marrying more wives. Majority of the guests that have come to witness the swearing-in and celebrate with the chairmen burst into laughter. It is the reality and a message that the governor is sending to them, it is very serious. Most often than not, the elected officials take the people at their locality for granted, they are often absentees in their local government so that they don’t feel the pains of what the people are going through.

Some of the new chairmen are coming on the heels when there are burning issues in their domain. I pity for them. The chairman of Shiroro local government is now on burning sit. Hon Suleiman Daudu Chukuba has a lot to do, Shiroro is being engulfed in a serious banditry attack virtually daily. This is one problem that the chairmen especially the ones neighbouring Kaduna State have to tackle now.

The local governments that need to double up include those of Shiroro, Munya, Rafi and Mariga. The activities of the criminal elements have reached an unprecedented height that people no longer sleep with their eyes closed in these affected areas.

This is not a time of jamboree for chairmen, they need to be on alert, and they should allow the people to feel them. These are the people that elected them to the position they are today. They should not assume the position of a demi-god.

The hall that attended the swearing-in ceremony was filled to the brim; I wish the chairmen had turned back to see the supporters that followed them to share in their happiness. This happiness should be translated in the provision of good things to their people. I hope they know that the voice of people is the voice of God.

The elected chairmen should now see government as an all-inclusive government; it is governance now and not politics. So they should go beyond petty sentiments and even appoint those they believe can deliver for them even when they don’t belong or share the same affiliation or creed. This is demonstrated from Governor Bello when he called on all that lost in the 2019 gubernatorial election to join hands with him and move the state to prosperity. I believe they should take leave from him.

There is a lesson to be learnt in the 2019 local government poll, Gbako produced a chairman outside the ruling APC party, the PDP man emerged as the elected chairman out of the 25 LGAs in the state, therefore, the elected chairmen should know that the people know what they want, and if any of them will like to seek for re-election their campaigns has just begun through the provision of dividends of democracy to their people.

LAST WORD

Governor Bello charged the chairmen to be the chief security officers of their LGAs. How can they be the chief security officers? It can only be done when they reside with their people to get first-hand information and knowledge to deal with the situation before them or report it to higher authorities.

This is not a time for primitive accumulation, this is a period for them to leave a legacy that they should be remembered for and prepare themselves for a greater political position if they chose to continue or move upward in politics.

 

TAURARUWA