Yobe governor swears in council chairmen, kicks against local government autonomy

Ibrahim Gaidam

The Governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Gaidam, on Sunday swore in the 17 newly elected local government council chairmen in Damaturu, the state capital.

The governor, however, said he does not support financial autonomy for the elected chairmen because it does not guarantee accountability.

Mr. Gaidam made this remark shortly after he supervised the swearing in ceremony of the new council executives.

He used the opportunity to call on the members of the National Assembly to stand against local government autonomy and argued that such fiscal independence does not guarantee “accountability and transparency”.

“Some of the elected chairmen in the various councils could be financially reckless to the detriment of the people that elected them into office,” he said.

“My position is informed by our experience in local government administration in our state for over two decades.

“When local governments received their statutory monthly share from the federation accounts directly, some of the unpleasant experiences I had included financial recklessness, large scale mismanagement of funds, failure to pay workers’ salaries for many months.”

The governor charged the new council chairmen to hit the ground running by enhancing revenue generation, and revitalising education, health and agriculture sectors.

He also urged them to continue with the laudable initiatives of the state government aimed at improving the living conditions of the people.

“You should utilise federation allocations in the development of infrastructural facilities and fight the ghost workers’ syndrome.

“Utilise the monthly allocations from the federation accounts and the internally generated revenue (IGR) judiciously and in the spirit of probity and transparency.

Mr. Gaidam stands out as the only governor in north-east Nigeria to have conducted local government elections in his state. Most of the governors, like others across the country, have been appointing their council chairmen.

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