Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has inaugurated a committee to audit the performance of the current caretaker chairmen across the local government councils in the state.
The committee inaugurated at Government House, Ibadan, on Wednesday evening, has Professor Kolapo Hamzat, Mr Richard Akintola, Mr Joseph Olaitan and state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr Bayo Lawal as members while former Senator, Monsurat Sunmonu is to serve as Chairperson.
Inaugurating the committee, Makinde said the report of the Sunmonu led committee is expected to guide the state government and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in determining which of the existing Chairmen has done well enough to stand for the forthcoming local government elections in the state.
With the caretaker chairmen having spent nine months in office, the Sunmonu committee will look into the extent to which each of the Chairmen has keyed into the cardinal goals of the Makinde administration.
He added that the move will also help the party identify and put forward its best as candidates of the PDP in the local government elections.
Makinde had during a meeting with the caretaker chairmen on August 26 hinted of the formation of the performance audit committee, adding that their performance and assessment by their constituents will determine those who will fly the party’s flag in the forthcoming election.
Consequently, he appealed to the committee to interact with both the constituents and workers at the local government level in order to arrive at a factual conclusion on the performance of the council chairpersons.
The committee was given a four weeks mandate to submit their report.
Makinde said: “The committee is to audit the performance of the Local government administration. We are not inaugurating a committee to witch-hunt the caretaker chairmen and the members at the local government levels, rather we are doing this because the local government election is imminent and it will happen in Oyo State.
“We are on the track to conduct elections that will usher in democratically elected chairmen and chairpersons and councillors at the local government level in Oyo State and we don’t want to get it wrong.
“They will be there for three years even after we are gone. We have given certain people the opportunities to run the government at that level and some of them will indicate interest to become democratically elected at that level.
“They have been there now for two terms of six months, so they should have done certain things.
“Some of them have actually been very serious. Some of them you can see that they are doing very well, in terms of having a good idea of what they want to do.
“One of the things that I really want you to look at dispassionately when you are having interactions with the local government chairmen, chairpersons and their members is whether they even have an idea of the cardinal programme of this administration because if you don’t have an idea of what we are supposed to be doing in the first instance, you probably won’t be able to key into the programme.
“The four pillars of this administration remain health, education, security and expansion of our economy. Yes, we can do so much at the state level, but if at the local government level, we are not able to get the alignment and get their by-ins into those programs, then we are actually wasting our time.
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“So, we want a history of performance based on the opportunity we have given, we want also you to interact with the people working with those administrators. I know for a fact that, if you walk into the secretariat, you will be shocked that within that secretariat, you can really know that as an administration, we are doing well or not.
“We want to conduct an election that will throw up the best of the best that we have to offer at that level of administration.
“Yes, I have been accused by some people that this is a government that has refused to spend money anyhow. Some of them even said that is it my money? Isn’t it government money, then why can’t I just allow things to flow, but it will flow only with value.
“You need to bring value to the table for the people of Oyo State and then things will flow.
“So, I am hundred per cent convinced that this committee will assist us and assist the people of Oyo State and you will be very objective and that it is very impossible for them to buy your conscience.”
Responding on behalf of the members, Sunmonu said her experience as legislator both at state and federal levels, where she carried out oversight of local government operations will come in handy for the task.
Sunmonu said, “By the special grace of God, everyone knows in this state that I was once the Speaker where my members do oversight across the 33 local governments. So, it’s just a sort of continuity. I know what the state is looking for; I know what the government is about; I know what to look into when we are trying to appraise the local government work and I pray that God will help us.”
Asked if the four weeks duration to complete the assignment was adequate, she said, “It is not short. I used to give my members two weeks during my time as Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly (OYHA) and I will just give them a week break after but I believe that we will just take it in zones and we are sure that we will deliver.”
Oyo caretaker chairmen