The Lagos State Government on Monday charged Local Government and Local Council Development Areas chairmen in the state not to fail the people at the grassroots by ensuring that they deliver the dividends of democracy to them.
Speaking at a two-day Induction programme for newly elected chairmen, vice chairmen and head of administration and heads of account of the LGs/LCDAs, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Muslim Folami urged the chairmen and their team to take full advantage of the programme and identify with the culture of good governance at the third tier of government.
“This charge has become compelling in view of the fervent belief that local government is not only the closest to the people, but possesses the capacity to be more impactful in fulfilling the wishes and aspirations of the people at the grassroots,” he said.
Folami stated that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, at the inception of his administration promised an inclusive government that would not leave anyone behind, adding that the administration had worked tirelessly to promote active collaboration among all tiers of government, focusing on strengthening communities by initiating a bottom to top approach to governance, using communities as springboard for special and economic development.
“I therefore charge you all to make yourself available to your people and always remember the state government’s policy thrust of giving governance back to the people at the grassroots.
“The new gospel of contemporary public management is founded on functional but continuous capacity building process that apprise our public managers with the requisite skills to cope with the imperatives of modern governance predicated on transparency, accountability and probity in public offices,” he said.
However, the commissioner said the induction programme was borne out of a compelling need to prepare the chairmen and their vices with the expectations of their respective offices.
He added that the objective of the programme was to build the capacity of the participants by acquainting them with the required skill sets to carry out their responsibilities and functions.
“It is therefore a strategy for the local government system to deliver the dividends of democracy to the citizenry in consonance with the new imperatives of good governance at the grassroots and particularly the development agenda of the state and its implication on the local government system,” he explained.
On his part, the Chairman, Local Government Service Commission, Alhaji Babatunde Rotinwa advised the administrators to follow the structure of governance already established by the Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration, saying that the existing structure had been designed to impact the lives of residents of the State in a seamless manner.
He called on the chairmen and the vice chairmen to be more concerned about attaining dignity in the service of the public rather than running after self-prestige that comes with the chairmanship positions.
“Make the services that impact the lives of the people your priority. Go round your areas, speak, relate with the people and strategize on achieving solutions on identified issues that will relief livelihood,” he said.
He urged the chairmen to imbibe the spirit of forgiveness, noting that their virtue of holding the office should not be a platform to punish and frustrate political oppositions.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Fola Padonu said that the training programme had been tailored to acquaint the council leaders with the required skill, knowledge and attitudinal disposition to address the challenges confronting Local Government Administration at this critical period of our national development.
He urged the participants to draw knowledge from the highly experienced and well-grounded facilitators for the training sessions, adding that the training would also be characterized by sharing new perspectives and ideas on the new model of public administration in the State.
In one of the papers, titled “Decision-making and Implementation in Local Government: Framework and Process,” presented by Mrs Olubunmi Fabamwo, former Director General, Public Service Staff Development Centre, PSSDC ,Magodo, she emphasized on service delivery to the people at the grassroots.
“Chairmen are seen as supervisors and there should be synergy with other Agencies of Government such as Lagos State waste Management Authority (LAWMA) Lagos State Signage and Advertising Agency.(LASSA).
“For the Local Government councils to take effective decisions, there should be working Committee set up in various departments including the members of the Community Development Associations (CDAs) to listen to their needs rather than providing what the council feel like giving them,” she said.
She advised Local Government Councils /LCDAs to emulate the State by organizing interactive meetings with all stakeholders’ at the grassroots before taking decisions that affect them.