Activities at the Lagos Mainland Local Government in Lagos State, may have been grounded following the long absence of its Chairperson, Hon (Mrs) Rashidat Omolola Essien, who is recuperating in Canada after a knee surgery.
Investigation revealed that the 68-year old council chairperson left the shore of the country for Canada on October 5, 2021 following a deteriorating right knee from where she has been conducting the affairs of the council, holding management meeting and giving approvals to vouchers via zoom in the last three months.
A member of staff at the council who craved anonymity, informed WesternPost that the absence of Essien has rendered all the nine elected councillors inactive, saying that none of them could implement or embark on any programme without her approval.
The source said: “The council chairperson has been battling worsening right knee injury even before her inauguration on July 27. This is why she had to travel to Canada for surgical operation.
“She has been away for three months and her absence has adversely affected activities at the council. It has also affected development projects as nothing could be done in her absence.
“In other local government areas and LCDAs across the state, we have seen and heard how their chairmen celebrated 100 days in office with the commissioning of projects, but here in Lagos Mainland, Hon Essien was away in Canada where she is recuperating from her knee surgery hence she couldn’t mark her first 100 days in office”.
The source added: “Although she didn’t officially handover authority to anyone, a civil servant and politician, Mr Logun Taofeek is acting on her behalf while she communicates with the council management and councillors through zoom meeting.
“She also approves vouchers through zoom while Taofeek signed after he must have held a zoom meeting with her where he sought her approval. In fact I can say that her absence has grounded activities at the council.
“There has not been any form of development and empowerment programmes since the inauguration of this current administration.
“About two weeks ago, Senator Oluremi Tinubu held her annual empowerment programmes for the widow and the aged at the council where she distributed cash and other gift items. Save for this, there has not been any form of intervention and empowerment programme at the council.”
While responding to the development, the Vice chairman of the Council, Hon Emilagba Jubril waved off the allegation describing it as baseless.
Jubril kept mute on the alleged conduction of the council affairs and holding of management meeting by the absentee chairperson through zoom.
He stated that activities at the council are running smoothly unhindered.
He said: “Everything is ok. We are operating effectively as we should and the council is running optimally without any rancour. There is no problem at the council.”
Meanwhile Chairman, National Union of Local Government Employee (NULGE), Lagos Mainland Local Government chapter, Mr Abowaba Abolore has said the absence of the council chairperson has no negative impact on activities at the council.
“The absence of the council chairman has no impact on the running of the local government. Everything is going on smoothly in her absence.
“We don’t have any problem in the local government. I don’t know how you got the information that management meeting was held virtually but all I can say is that everything has been going on smoothly. As I am talking to you, annual bonus to staff has been approved and given to us in spite of her absence,” he said.
As at the time of filing this report, the council chairperson could not be reached to react to the allegation.