By Bode Akinbode, Ibadan
The much-awaited composition of local government caretaker chairmen was finally sealed on Monday as the Oyo State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde inaugurated 68 caretaker chairmen to oversee the 33 local governments and 35 Local Council Development Areas of the State.
The Governor, who was speaking at the swearing-in ceremony held inside the House of Chiefs, Parliament Building, Agodi, Ibadan declared that the councils must be centres of development, adding that the caretaker chairmen must contribute meaningfully to the development of the state.
He asked them to serve as the eyes, ears and mouths of the Government in its effort to deliver good governance
Makinde stated that the inauguration became necessary in order to avoid a vacuum in governance at the grassroots.
According to him, the intention of his administration is to ensure that the people of Oyo State continue to enjoy the dividends of democracy.
Makinde stated that his government is a people-centred government that will continue to put the interests of the people of Oyo State first.
He also said that his decision to inaugurate the councils was to ensure that the closest level of government to the people is fully functional such that the councils could make meaningful impacts on their lives.
Makinde urged the chairmen to carry out key functions in driving the policy actions of the government in the areas of security, health, education and economic expansion to ensure accelerated development for Oyo State.
According to him, “What are some aspects of governance that you will be carrying out these oversight functions? Well, they are indeed many and varied. But I will talk about a few very important ones, given the needs of Oyo State at this time. Please bear in mind the four main pillars of our Roadmap to Accelerated Development in Oyo State, namely Education, Healthcare, Security, and the Economy through trade and agribusiness.
“As an administration, we are very interested in the education of our children. The Commissioner of Education can confirm we have started distributing the compendium of past questions to the SSS 3 students in all secondary schools in Oyo State. Our goal in education is to ensure no child is out-of-school.
“I would be happy to see your plans to make sure that children get off the streets and into the classrooms. I know you will have more opportunities to liaise with the parents in a bid to implement our free education policies.
“You will also be in a better position to report any issues that may be working against this policy. In this, we need you to be our eyes, ears, and mouth. So, see what is going on, listen to the complaints and challenges the parents have and talk to them about our plans.
“Another key aspect I want to mention is with markets and small businesses. We are very interested in the growth of our economy through agriculture and trade.
“The economy of Oyo State cannot grow if small businesses do not thrive and this will mean our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) cannot grow either. One of the points we raised during our campaign is how multiple taxation is killing businesses. We want to remove all the roadblocks to business growth
“Therefore, we will be expecting you to work with local businesses and the State Internal Revenue Board to make sure that people are happy doing business in Oyo State at the local level. Let us know what the challenges are so that we can work together to resolve them.”
On refuse disposal, he said the government would go around the areas to which they are assigned and see things for themselves, and hear the challenges the people are having with solid waste disposal.