GOV. AMAECHI COL Caretaker Administration And Task Of Redeeming The Image Of The Past 3 Years

Ordinarily, one would without reading this script conclude by questioning the viability of a caretaker administration of at least 3 months and maximum of 6 months redeeming the image of a bathered face of 3 years past governance at the local governments also known as the third tier government, aimed at bringing government closer to the grassroot dwellers which incidentally have failed in its constitutional functions.

To redeem simply means to save, make alive, preserve or sustain. Therefore, the doctrine of bringing the seat of governance closer to the people by way of allowing them feel the government through quick responses to the needs of the people could not be overemphasize, provision of certain amenities and social infrastructure as well as providing enabling environment at the local level for businesses and services to thrive however, forms the basic responsibilities of government at the local level.

Before delving into the discussion, it is proper to examine the provisions of the law which allows for Caretaker Administration in Rivers State. This is necessary because one might be considered as being wrong if it is said that “Caretaker Government is an aberration of the law of the state”.

In the earlier laws of the State Caretaker Government was boldly spelt out which encourages its set up, but after series of amendments and repealing the Rivers State House of Assembly under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Otelemaba Dan Amachree in 2012 enacted a law with phrases that today contravenes the smooth setting up of Caretaker Administration.

Section 9 subsection 4(i) says, “The Governor shall swear in the newly elected chairman and vice chairman of the Local Government after the completion of tenure of the serving council administration”.

This is an indication that there shall be an election immediately after the expiration of the serving council administration to allow for no vacuum in governance.

Section 9 subsection 4(ii) however says, “Where an emergency or any other situation arises which makes it impossible for the holding of local government election within the period stipulated under this law, the governor shall upon the expiration of the tenure of the serving council administration, appoint for each local government a caretaker committee of not more than Seven persons (one of whom shall be the chairman) from that local government area”.

The above section, clearly states the condition which allows for a caretaker administration in the local government areas. Under the law, Caretaker is only allowed in an atmosphere of emergency, but what goes wrong why caretaker committee should be constituted is quite unspeakable at the moment.

Back to the issues of the day, local government creation as a provision of the constitution and third tier government was a welcome idea to bring development nearer to the grassroot who may not have the opportunity of reaching the State and Federal Government when necessary.

Today, the essence of creation of this third tier government has been defeated by its subsequent administrators and that of the State which watch and even share percentages from the funds meant to develop the grassroots.

Local government chairmen, have made the various LGA’s their conduit pipe where funds meant for development are being siphoned to private pockets, what a sorry state.

Local government administration with a legitimate three (3) years tenure in Rivers State have failed to provide enabling environment for the people and business to thrive as well lack developmental vision in the area of their operations.

Now, the question, “what would Caretaker Committee with a life span of a minimum 3 months or maximum of six (6) months do in a battered face of underdevelopment in 3 years? When an elected chairman, serving for 3 years was unable to make the people at the grassroot feels the government impact, what could a committee with 3 months tenure do if not to appease the wounds or tortured souls?

In Rivers State, majority of the immediate past or outgone chairmen have without gainsaying knocked down their various councils for not embarking on any meaningful projects within their 3 years tenure. It is therefore worthy of saying that, the period under review June 2011 to May ending 2014 was wasted years and resources in the hands of incompetent inexperienced, selfish and voodoo controlled chairmen. This is not laughable, but a pitiable, situation that ultimately calls for deliverance and liberation of the lands.

It is sad to state that some of the outgone chairmen irrespective of their taste of governance in certain offices at the state level and as previous Caretaker chairmen in their respective LGAs were yet inexperienced and unproductive for these 3 years, when it was expected that they could do much for their people. Well, to a dead body men do cry but without thought-out reasons for the cries. While some cry for not benefiting from the wealth (inheritance) of the deceased, others cry on where the soul of such individual goes to after his journey on earth. The chairmen have perpetrated their evil and have gone, whether they can properly invest their stolen monies or not is never anyone’s headache but the legacy left behind salutes or hunts their families for life time. Don’t say Issues Abattoir say so because this is natural.

The multi-million questions facing the administration of this Caretaker committee would be how to write their names in gold within 3 months to redeem the already battered image of their LGAs before the state, visitors and above all the generations to come, since stock taking would definitely reveal its records someday.

The period 3 months is not enough to embark on major projects but however it’s very okay to skillfully empower certain citizens, if construction of minor internal roads, provision of pipe borne waters, building of town halls and others would be cumbersome.

May it be placed on records that, overseeing the councils does not require only signing of allocations from the State and Federal Government, payment of workers wage bill and sharing to stakeholders alone rather the task of impacting positively on the citizens no matter how little it might be, considering the time and tenure factor at least for posterity sake.

For those who are saddle with this caretaker responsibility, prayers are the citizens’ debt for you to excel and at least an extension of another 3 months to those who may have done well.

At least, the retention of only 5 out of the 21LGAs chairmen is a positive account of stewardship and kudos to them; hence the challenge to bear such mark by others is envisaged.

However, irrespective of Issues Abattoir disagreement with the process base on the assented Rivers State Local Government Law No. 2 of 2012, it is kudos to Governor Amaechi though he was aware of the looting spree by the outgone chairmen but did not allow them an extension of time to do more evil, “a big salute for you, Mr. Governor”.

Though, there were ovations, excitement over the choice of members of these committees, it was not because they are perfect, afterall most of them have equally stolen from their LGAs purses, but they are considered experienced men in the business of governance, hence much is expected from them at the grassroot not minding the limited time giving the facts that some of the appointees were chairmen and members prior to their current appointment while others were vice chairmen to the outgone chairmen.

It is time to bring experience to bear in the administration of human beings at the grassroots. ##


With James Mgboineme

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