The Ekiti State House of Assembly has concluded plans to investigate the finances of the 16 local governments in the state covering the period of the last administration of Ayodele Fayose.
The house however denied the move was a witch-hunt, noting that it was part of its oversight functions and efforts to curb corruption in the third tier of government.
Chairmen of the local governments were elected in December 2017 and their tenure will expire December 2019.
The councils had approached the Ekiti State High Court shortly after Governor Kayode Fayemi took over, seeking to restrain him from dissolving them.
But the court struck out the motion, saying it was presumptive and speculative, as there was no compelling reason to suggest that the then governor-elect had any intention to dissolve the local councils as constituted after the December 2017 election.
Barely a month of Mr Fayemi’s administration, the councils are still in place, and no pronouncement has been made to dissolve them.
The house’s Leader of Business, Gboyega Aribisogan, told journalists on Tuesday in Ado Ekiti that the financial status of the local governments must be examined to prevent embezzlement of public funds.
He said the exercise would entail getting the council chairmen to account for the resources made available to them during the period and how they have been able to impact the lives of the people.
Mr Aribisogan, also said the investigation would ensure that the lean resources at the third tier of government was not misappropriated .
He however said those found to have corrupted themselves with the resources of the people would be handed over to the anti-corruption agencies.
Mr Aribisogan, a member of the All Progressives Congress, stated that it would be a great disservice to the people as their representatives, to allow council bosses to mismanage public funds without proper action taken to ensure probity and transparency in the system.
“This probe is a routine work being carried out by the Assembly to ensure that our people, those who elected us get values for their money,” he said.
“You know the local governments are the closest to the grassroots and we must not shy away from taking those actions that will ensure that the government’s developmental programmes get to the downtrodden masses.
“This can’t happen when the House is not alive to its responsibilities of playing oversight actions to serve as checks and balances on the council bosses.
“This should not be misinterpreted to mean a witch-hunting of the past government but was done to make political office holders alive to their responsibilities to the people in terms of finances.
“But we are going to make our findings public and whoever found to have mismanaged public funds will be handed over to the appropriate authorities for actions.”
But the Peoples Democratic Party in the state described the move as another means of seeking the dissolution of the councils.
Publicity Secretary of the party, Jackson Adebayo, told PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday that the new administration of Mr Fayemi is seeking an opportunity to dissolve the councils, even though they were democratically elected.
According to him, due to legal obstacles standing on the way of the government to dissolve the councils outright, a probe is being instituted to justify any dissolution of the councils.
“The decision of the House to carry out the probe did not come to us as a surprise, because they are trying to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it,” said Mr Adebayo.
“They are aware of a Supreme Court judgment that forbids the dissolution of a democratically elected local government, and would rather find another way, which is what they are trying to do, just to ensure the councils are dissolved.
“That is the way of the APC which is using some disgruntled members of the PDP in the House to find fault with the last administration.”
Mr Adebayo added that it would be difficult to separate the probe of the local government from the investigation of the Fayose administration, knowing that both governments operate in joint allocation account.
He however said time was not on the side of Mr Fayemi, whom, he said would be removed from office at the conclusion of the election petition against him.
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