By: Olajide Toriola
The Onpetu of Ijeru, a town in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Oba Sunday Oyediran, has asked that a role be carved out for traditional rulers in the system of Local Government Administration, as a way out of the failure of the third tier of government to cater for the lives of its teeming grassroots people.
He made this known at the weekend during a lecture delivered by former Special Adviser on Media to the Governor of Oyo State, Dr Festus Adedayo, entitled Wedlock as hemlock: States, local government accounts and the future of the local government and launch of two books entitled Issues in Ogbomoso history and Reasoning with you, written by Mr. Adewuyi Adegbite, a historian and public affairs analyst, held at the Ogbomoso South Local Government.
The monarch had disagreed with a submission by the guest lecturer who had stated that arguments canvassing that those who want councils to replicate today the First republic experience which had traditional rulers getting involved in the administration of their regions, do not realize that it would not produce any positive results as traditional rulers themselves were part of the local government problem.
According to the monarch who used his personal developmental efforts in the area of healthcare and many others in his Ijeru area as an example of what traditional rulers could do if integrated into their local government administration, not all traditional rulers of today were desirous of personal gains they can get from government.
In an earlier lecture, Dr Adedayo had said that in a democracy, local government administration was more important to the people than the two other tiers of government as it has the advantage of making swift and great impacts on the lives of the people, as well as “serve as a potent system to mobilize people for local participation in governance.”
He knocked both the 1976 local government reforms and the 1999 constitution for their failure to give council administration the bite it needed, stating that some sections of the constitution actually handed over local governance to the whims and caprices of state governments.
Dr. Adedayo strongly criticized Section 7(1) and Section 160, sub-sections (2) to (8)) of the constitution for stating that states Houses of Assembly should legislate on council administration, as well as creating the State Joint Local Government Account (SJLGA), stating that the latter was responsible for what he called the pillaging of council resources by state governments.
“What this means is that the amounts allocated to the local government will only get to them indirectly through the instrumentality of their state governments. Through all manner of shenanigans, state governments now funnel out huge resources meant for the development of the grassroots, hiding under the SJLGAs which have become infamous as cesspits of fraud.
“The result is that there is irrefutable squalor at the grassroots and regimes of bad imitation of locality administration. Consequently, governance in councils is at a standstill, uneventful and is today a converse of its projected role of interfacing between the people and local governance,” he said.
Also present at the occasion were the former Chairman Medical Advisory Council of LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Dr O. A. Olakulehin, the Aale of Okeelerin, Oba Samuel Amao, Prof Ademola Adegbite, former Chairman of Ogbomoso North Local Government, Chief Bayo Oyewusi, former Chairman of the same council, Hon Temi Adibi, among others.