The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has on Thursday inaugurated 67 Executive Secretaries and caretaker committees members to oversee the administration of Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas, Area Councils and Administrative Offices in the state.
The Governor who performed the swearing-in at the Multi-purpose Hall, Local Government Service Commission, State Secretariat, Osogbo recalled that his administration inherited 30 local governments and an area office.
Aregbesola noted that as it stands today, the state has added 31 new Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs), three Area Councils and two Administrative Offices to make 67 Local Governments and development areas.
The governor, who described Local Government as an integral part of a state, said its autonomy is definable within the state.
He said, “It is a subversion of the federal principle for the Federal Government or any federal institution or agency to begin to undercut states and forge direct relationship with the Local Government”, saying, understanding this point was important in defining the autonomy of the local government.
He held that Federalism is a constitutional arrangement where power is shared between the units of government and the central government in and the sphere of authority of each is clearly delineated.
The Governor also added that federating units therefore are the states of the federation and the federal government, making only states and central government the federating partners.
“Local Governments on the other hand, are not federating partners and therefore do not have direct relationship with the Federal Government.
“The Local Government is an integral part of a state and its autonomy therefore is definable within the state. I agree and support therefore the notion of its autonomy in this light.
“The Local Government should be not be shackled; it should be empowered to operate freely within its domain. It should have wide latitude of responsibilities, control and operation within its jurisdiction.
“We have had challenges and abuse. Some states have turned their councils into cash cows. While the constitution requires states to guarantee a democratic system in the local government, this has also been subverted into state’s fiefdom. But we cannot throw out the baby with the bath water.
“The principle of federalism is important and we cannot sacrifice this on the altar of convenience. If there are abuses, let us address it, but don’t let us undermine federalism”, the governor stressed.
Why do some people demand autonomy at the local government? The answer is not far-fetched, the councils too want to go to Abuja and collect monthly allocation from the Federation Account to spend the way they want, which amounts to power without responsibility.
“The responsibility and true autonomy consist in being able to mobilise the people in your domain for development through revenue generation and economic participation by all.
“The officials we are inaugurating today have their autonomy within this umbra of responsibility. It is a new day in local government administration.
“Many people have strange ideas on how access to local government administration could be a get rich quick scheme. I have bad news for them.
“All of you being inaugurated today should have it at the back of your mind that this is a call to service, with little or no reward”, the governor stressed.