Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola has sworn-in 57 new Executive Secretaries to run affairs at the Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas where he also charged them to focus attention on their primary responsibilities at the grassroots level.
The governor at the event explained that the Executive Secretaries were being inaugurated to ensure that there is no vacuum in service delivery at the local government level and that they would serve for a transitional three months period with four advisory members each to ensure that they secure life and property in their respective areas.
Said he: “So, my first mandate to you is to go and integrate all members of your communities, whatever part of Nigeria that they come from, whatever religion they profess, whatever language they speak, whatever type of dress they wear. They are part of us, they are Lagosians and we must integrate them and continue to live in peaceful coexistence with them”
He added that it is when the new helmsmen have secured their environment that they can go on to their subsequent responsibility to improve the quality of primary healthcare, primary education, local sanitation and work on some roads that they can do within the limit of the resources that will be available to them to work with.
“Let me say that you are inheriting a great legacy because as at the end of last year, some of the reports that we got, studies conducted around our state is that close to over 50 percent of our residents are now saying that they prefer to have their children in government run and managed primary schools. That is the work that we have done. The numbers were not that high before”, he explained.
According to the Governor, even at the secondary school level the result of the preference for public schools is very impressive but that the reality of the situation is that private schools would continue to exist alongside the public schools because the public schools cannot accommodate all the children of school age.
“It is also a source of employment and income generation for the private schools and so we must allow those who have the skills and entrepreneurship to do that to balance what government does in that area to contribute their quota in employing people. What is important is that government remains the regulator of the sector”, the Governor added.
The Governor said even in the health sector at the Local Government level, government wants a healthy population and this can be achieved if the Local Governments should face local sanitation, clearing of drains, provision of water, general cleaning and proper disposal of refuse in bags that are removed from the community.
He contended that by doing that they are removing disease from the community and when they remove disease and the State government supplies water, what it means that they will have healthy people who really do not need to come to the hospital.
“Of course we will continue to deal with people who are raising families, with ante natal care, post natal and neo natal care at the primary health centres which are services that we would continue to provide free, you must ensure that you deploy resources to the Centres so that people can get care and attention”, he stated.
Governor Fashola said despite the fact that these are very challenging times for the nation due to dwindling national income and revenue occasioned by reduction in price of crude oil in the international market, the state has continued to ensure that Local Government workers receive their salaries.
He charged the new Executive Secretaries to go and help every of their residents who is of voting age to obtain their Permanent Voters Card through the Independent National Electoral Commission Local Government offices till the expiration of the January 31 date, emphasizing that it is not a partisan duty but a civic responsibility.
While urging the appointees to be good ambassadors of the state and country, the Governor advised them against embarking upon revenue generation exercise that could turn a burden to members of the communities, adding that the only taxes they must collect are the taxes that fall within the remit of their authority as a Local Government.
He added that the list of Local Governments approved taxes and levies have been compiled and passed into law by the Lagos State House of Assembly and that where possible they provide regulatory directives for markets.
Justifying the action, the Governor explained that Lagos has always prided herself over the last few years as it had always complied with the constitution by ensuring that there is a democratically elected local Government structure.
He stated that the State could not issue election notice at the Local Government level yet because despite the fact the conduct of election at that level is the responsibility of states, the voters register update process has not been concluded by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) whose responsibility it is.
“I have decided to inaugurate the Executive Secretary who will serve at the transitional capacity as I said till the end of March hoping that by then all the issue on update of voters register would have been sorted out and we would go to elections to elect officers to all levels of the local government structure”.
“So let me be clear, this is not an election, this is a prerogative of the exercise of my discretion in order to ensure that services are not held back at the grassroots level. I have seen the enthusiasm of our people who want to serve. I have seen their agitation, I have seen their excitement. This is my prerogative to appoint who I please in consultation with people who live in those Local Government so it is nothing to quarrel about, it is a transitional arrangement”, he stressed.
He also said what the state has done now unlike the practice before when sole administrators ran the councils was to expand it to include four other people adding that there would not be the usual number of councillors as the arrangement would help to reduce the cost of running government.
On the agitation about severance pay and others by some people at the venue, the Governor maintained that the State has given autonomy to Local Government Areas and that as democratically elected public officers they would decide on what they want to spend their money on.
“They are elected officials. I cannot remove them so if there are issues that need to be dealt with, this is the challenge of democracy, the right to choose and the right to take decisions and we all have to continue to improve in that sense”, he said.
The Governor explained that concerted effort was being made to resolve the issues. “For those who are affected, we have solved one group and there was a group which now came and we found out that some of the people we have solved were also involved in the second group and we will not do anything that is not transparent. So we have to sort all of those one out and we can’t take money for services for all the local governments and stop service delivery and say that we should be paying local government workers so what we have done is to stagger the payment in such a way that payment of financial accruable benefits does not stop the Councils from functioning and to the best of my knowledge, no default has been recorded”, he stated.
The newly sworn Executive Secretaries include Engineer David Famuyiwa for Agbado-Oke Odo, Christy Otuyalo for Agboyi- Ketu, Barr. Omofunmilewa Adejombo- Agege, Engr Tajudeen Ojora -Ajeromi, Jelili Suleman –Alimosho, Mrs Modupe Ojodu- Amuwo- Odofin, Hon Bolaji Dada- Apapa, Hon Funmilayo Muhammed Apapa- Iganmu, Dele Ayinde- Ayobo Ipaja, Kappo Pedetin- Badagry Central, Hon Agoro. J.A-Badagry West, Alabi David- Bariga, Bello Ismail- Coker-Aguda, Kunle Sanyaolu-Egbe-Idimu, Barr. Tajudeen Alabi-Ejigbo, Alhaji Hameed Ayinde- Seriki, Hon Adebanjo Adesanya- Eredo, Shuaibu Ajayi- Eti- Osa, Princess Omolara Oyekan- Eti- Osa East, Isiaka Yahya-Iba, Oladapo Salami- Ibeju- Lekki, Mr Oluwarotimi Adeleye-Ifako- Ijaiye, Hon Wahab Adigun-Ifelodun, Wale Azeez- Igando- Ikotun, Hon Taiwo Orenuga- Igbogbo/Baiyeku, Hon, Rasak Ajetunmobi- Ijede, Alhaji Adekunle Dally-Adeokun-Ikeja,
Others are Mr Wasiu Adeshina- Ikorodu, Hon Banjo Adebisi-Ikorodu North, Princess Adunni Oyefusi-Ikorodu West, Sulaimon Yusuf-Ikosi-Ejirin, Afolabi Abk-Ikosi-Isheri, , Ms Toyin Caxton- Martins-Ikoyi-Obalende, Hon Muyiwa Adesanya-Imota, Hon. M.A Daramola- Iru-Victoria Island, Hon Olusegun Jubril-Isolo, Alhaja M.A. Ajala-Itire-Ikate,Ketiku Gbemisola-Kosofe, Hon Toyose Olusi-Lagos Island, Lagos Island East-Omotosho Lookman, Hon O. Essien-Lagos Mainland,Rasak Kasali- Lekki, Akindele Opeyemi- Mosan Okunola, Jide Bello-Mushin, Hon Rasak Ajala-Odi-Olowo, Sikiru Lawal-Ojo, Mallam Moyosore Jaji- Ojodu, Mrs Fausat Olajokun-Ojokoro, Hon Akin Ajayi-Olorunda, Moshood Abiola- Onigbongbo, Hon Bola Badmus-Olujobi-Oriade, Adeyinka Akeem- Orile- Agege, Olajobi Daud-Oshodi, Azeez Kareem-Oto-Awori, Abiodun Orekoya-Somolu, Chief Mrs Dele Hussein- Surulere and Mrs Bola Olumegbon-Yaba.