LG chairmen’s tenure: Why odds are against outgoing Oredo chairman, others

January 17, 2021
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By Eben Enasco, Benin City

The main aim for the establishment of  local councils, first in 1840, was to bring  government closer to the people and cater for the needs of local communities.

Local government promotes economic, social and cultural development of the municipal area its represents, supports individuals and groups, as well as provides a wide range of services for the wellbeing of the local community.

Municipalities generally take responsibility for parks and recreation services, police and fire departments, housing services, emergency medical services, municipal courts, transportation services, including public transportation, and public works streets, sewers, signage, and so on.

Today, in Oredo, Orhionmwon and few Local Government Areas in Edo State, it is a typically the opposite in driving the corporate responsibilities of grassroots governance.

In Oredo, the Administrative headquarters of Benin City, it should be seen as the lead pointer in development to other Local Government Councils in the State.

According to the population projection estimation of 2016, there are 490,600 People in Oredo, which officially makes it the largest Council in the state.

But with little or nothing done amidst huge Internally Generated Revenues from its resources, the people have continued to cry for a prudent administrator to manage and use the resource.

We have had documented tenures from successive Chairmen who had contributed either negatively or positively even at high expectations from the electorate.

From “Zero Allocations” Convener of the past and the present hotel “fushnicker”, nothing seem to have changed.

Hon Jenkins Egharevba Osunde, the current Chairman of Oredo, is seen as the worst local government elected administrator by far, going by opinions poll captured from remarks across board.

In the three years tenure coming to an end, Oredo Local Government Council Chairman, Jenkins Osunde, is believed to have no meaningful project initiated and completed.

He couldn’t even setup a reliable press unit as a subject because he knew from the beginning that nothing good will come out of Bethlehem to set up a media Promoting Unit.

The only project ascribed to Hon Jenkins Osunde has been the jargon: ”reaffirm support for Governor Obaseki’s reelection bid”.

In a survey conducted recently by electorates and relevant stakeholders using performance index scheme, PIS, to assess Local Government deliveries in a tenure, Jenkins Evbareke Osunde sat at the bottom of the graph chart having polled 10 per cent.

The chart had the local government Chairman of Ikpoba Okha, Hon Dr Eric Osayande, at the top of the performance index graph Chart with 75  per cent.

The methodology used in conducting the survey score cards were based on the level of infrastructures Development, Combating Crimes, Education, workers welfare, Loyalty and revenue generation schemes.

The only reason Osunde would still remain as a Council Chairman is the Governor, not because he has any formidable initiative to pilot the Council.

For that period of Electioneering Campaigns, Hon Osunde was almost composing a solo track album with the word, ‘REAFFIRMING’, even though he was not an officially known song writer/singer.

Apart from being a naysayer Chairman, according to a source who preferred to be anonymous said, “another area he tends to have found solace is switching to
new system of revenue collection which negates the value system of the tax payers.”

Maybe because he is a hotel proprietor and that could have informed him to at least switch methods.

The Chairman of the Edo State Chapter of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria, ALGON, Hon. Jenkins Osunde, some time ago, said that the 18 local councils in the state have concluded plans to switch to a new system of revenue collection. Osunde, Chairman of Oredo Local Government Area, said this at the end of the monthly Edo State Joint Account and Allocation Committee JAAC, meeting at Government House, in Benin City.

He noted that N24,094,500 out of the N3.261 billion that accrued to the 18 local councils in the month of June, distributed in July, was used to pay for Airtel Internet connectivity that will drive the new revenue collection system. He declared: “The Airtel internet connectivity will provide the network that will be used for the new system of revenue collection we are migrating to.

“The 18 LGAs are contributing towards the new internet connectivity, and we need to send the money before the connection can be done.”

He explained that the total deduction from the Gross Allocation was N1.735 billion, with N1.525 billion as net allocation to the Local Governments while total amount transferable to the LGAs stood at N1.509 billion.

He said there was an increase in the IGR realised in July compared to that of June, noting, “The share of the IGR to the LGAs in June was N159,618,465 while the share to the LGAs in July was N160,340,540.”

With all these figures to sustain a special project of this nature, Hon Jenkins has not been able tell anyone about the present state.

Recall that, the legislative arm of Oredo local government area of Edo State summoned the chairman of the council, Hon Jenkins Osunde, to appear before it later that week and give the report of his stewardship in the last two and a half years.

Since then, Hon Osunde hasn’t been able to reward those who trusted him to deliver dividends of democracy to his locality.

Now that his three year tenure is days away, can he say, he deserves another tenure in a sane society?

It would be the joke of the century if a sane person ask him to run for same position in the next Local Government Election in the State whether Oredo or any other Local Government within the State.

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