By Steve Oni, Ilorin
Against the current agitation by Nigerians for local government autonomy, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State has said that the desired autonomy would yield little fruit unless the local government system is reformed and strengthened along economic lines.
Speaking at the swearing in of the newly appointed 16 Transition Implementation Committee (TIC) Chairmen in Ilorin on Tuesday, the governor advocated a thorough reform of local government administration in the country in order to ensure tangible opportunities for the third tier of government to meet its obligations to the people.
He said: “Granting autonomy to local government with highly limited economic potential is more likely to complicate rather than resolve the challenges confronting local governments.”
“What we need is a reform that provides tangible opportunities for local government to meet salary and project obligations.”
The governor, who said that the economic realities of local governments, and indeed the country, remained unfavourable to the enthronement of executive council chairpersons, added that the swearing in of new TIC Chairmen underscored his administration’s resolve to sanitise local government system as a prelude to full fledged councils.
The governor assured the councils of his administration’s continuous support to meet their obligations, stressing that beyond autonomy, local government areas would be strengthened to exploit all economic opportunities available for their long-term sustenance and viability.
“Our government is also determined to bequeath a local government system that is robust, efficient, autonomous and inclusive”, he quipped.
While admonishing the TIC Chairmen to discharge their responsibilities with utmost transparency and honesty, Ahmed warned them against new employments. In particular, he charged them to assiduously work towards offsetting the arrears of salary and pension of their staff and pensioners.
Responding on behalf of the newly swore in Transition Implementation Committee(TIC) Chairmen, the Chairperson of Ilorin South Local Government Area, Hajia Funmilayo Salahudeen, expressed gratitude to the governor for given them the opportunity to serve.
She assured the governor of their resolve to justify the confidence reposed in them by being steadfast, dedicated and committed to their statutory duties.