The Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, on Tuesday swore-in 16 newly elected local government chairpersons in the state with a pledge to work harder and closer with the local government councils and their new chief executives to find a sustainable solution to salary crisis at the local government level.
Speaking during the swearing-in at the Council Chamber of the Government House, Ilorin, Mr. Ahmed charged the chairpersons to synergise with all relevant stakeholders to raise Internally Generated Revenue to meet their statutory responsibilities.
The governor expressed concern over the plight of local government workers, pensioners, basic education workers and other workers experiencing salary and pension delays.
“As your governor, I feel your pain. I feel your pain in the messages I receive from some of you, in the pleas of your leadership, the challenges faced by your families and the distress expressed in the public space about your distress”, the governor said.
Mr. Ahmed particularly urged the council chairpersons to work with the legislature to enact enabling laws where none exist to back effective revenue drives and with Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS) to exploit existing revenue lines.
“Every local government, especially those in the cosmopolitan and populated areas, has latent revenue opportunities that must be identified and exploited without imposing additional burden on the people. That is the only way your administrations can survive and meet the people’s expectations”.
Mr. Ahmed who advised the newly sworn-in chairmen to prioritise due process and prudence in the administration of their various councils also advised them to shun unnecessary appointments, ostentatious living and other conducts that could call their integrity to question and hamper capacity to uplift the people in these challenging times.
The governor also charged them to give security prompt attention and design effective strategies to identify security challenges for prompt action.
Also speaking, the State Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Development, Haruna Tambiri, said the swearing in was in line with fourth schedule of the 1999 constitution as amended and Local Government Law of Kwara State K33 section 20.
Alhaji Tambiri recalled that the tenure of the last elected chairmen in the state ended on the 10th of November, 2016 and paucity of fund led to the swearing in of caretaker committees.
Responding on behalf of the council chairmen, the Chairman Ekiti Local Government Area, Yinka Dallas, promised that the chairpersons would work with the state government and its agencies in improving the internally generated revenue to meet their challenges, especially payment of workers in their various jurisdictions.
Mr. Dallas appreciated the electorate for the confidence reposed in them and promised to deliver on their campaign promises.