Goodwill message by Her Honour the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) at a two-day retreat for newly elected Local Government Chairmen, Vice-Chairmen and Heads of Local Government administration in Oyo State held at the Ilaji Hotel and Sports Resort, Akanran, Ibadan.
I must say that I am really pleased to be in your midst this afternoon and this is so for many reasons. One, this is an opportunity to ‘catch them young,’ so to say and secondly, we have been on this for a while.
So, the fact that it is coming to pass currently, is for me, a mission accomplished. My office and that of the Special Adviser on Strategy and Political Matters had planned to organize this type of retreat immediately the Caretaker Chairmen were sworn-in, with the strong belief that they hold a lot of opportunities for deepening our Poverty to Prosperity (P2P) message at the grassroots.
But the retreat had to be kept in view for some time in view of the unfolding events around the country and the world. There was the novel coronavirus and other challenges.
That we are able to keep the focus and fix the retreat for this auspicious time, just shortly after the inauguration of duly elected council executives is a whole lot of credit to His Excellency, Governor ‘Seyi Makinde, the able captain of our ship.
I earlier described this as a sort of ‘catch them young.’ Yes, it is, because we want you to imbibe the series of lessons from this retreat and incorporate them into your activities as you settle down to conceptualise the practical translation of the P2P agenda at the grassroots.
I understand that you have held discussions about Code of Conduct; Revenue generation; Managing conflicts and crisis at the local levels; Principles of successful Local Government administration; the Four Pillars of the GSM administration (Four-Point Service Agenda), encompassing Security, Health, Education and Expanded Economy; Public procurement; Media and Communication Strategies; Agribusiness and economic expansion; Sustainable Development and Budgeting among others.
The topics have been carefully selected not as a way of taking you back to school, but to refresh our memories and provide a common platform for the ubiquity of development we crave at the grassroots.
From independence in 1960, the local government system in Nigeria has always been in transition. The 1976 Local Government reforms attempted to put in place a presidential system at the local governments by seeking to institute the councils as the real, third tier of government, where the Chairman is chief executive. With the 1999 Constitution (as amended) a quasi-federal system of administration was emplaced. This means that the local governments oversee their own affairs, but subject to other laws made by the State Houses of Assembly, while a Joint Account with the States was also instituted.
Although, some have argued that the situation provided by the 1999 Constitution has only put the councils in the pockets of the state administrations, Chairmen in Oyo State should count themselves lucky as they are blessed with a Governor who is in a hurry to develop the state and translate that development to the grassroots.
As the ears and eyes of the Governor at the grassroots, you must design measures to deepen the development objectives of the state by expanding on the Four pillars of this administration, building infrastructures that target the economy, build health centres for peoples well-being, schools for educational advancement and better the lots of the farming populace by introducing agribusiness initiatives.
Let me add this to what you might have been told about Media Management. This is the information age and the era of Fake News. You must be mindful who you talk to and who talks to you as far as media interventions are concerned. Don’t be too quick to rush to the press and avoid as much as possible, cross fires. When in doubt about the need for a particular media intervention, crosscheck with the media managers of the administration. A minute or two delay will shield us from exerting energy unduly.
I urge you all not to throw away the knowledge you have gained from this retreat as we all march towards the popularization of the Poverty to Prosperity (P2P) Agenda of the GSM administration.
I thank you all.
Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun
Secretary to the State Government
Oyo State Secretariat,
June 22, 2021.