The current set of Caretaker administration in Rivers state is without doubt counting its second month in office but can they boast of achieving anything?
Challenge according to the English Dictionary is “An instigation or antagonization intended to convince a person to perform an action they otherwise would not” “A difficult task, especially one that the person making the attempt finds more enjoyable because of that difficult”.
The challenges in administration are enormous and those facing the newly care taker government at the various local Government Areas are not excluded.
In general administration driving home some developmental activities requires challenges that seem insurmountable for many reasons. In whichever way one may consider it, the administrative ability of the holder or leader of a team of representative matters most in the actualization of a set goal.
Considering the numerous challenges faced by yesterday leaders and that which confronts today’s leaders, there is now therefore the need to conclude that there are new challenges that demands urgent attention and solution by the drivers of the polity.
The Local Government Administration in Rivers State under the able leadership of His Excellency, Chief Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, is witnessing its third batch of caretaker committees. The first and second sets respectively completed their 3 months and about 6 months, leaving section of the citizens of the state in pains.
Caretaker Committee is a provision and creation of the Rivers State Local Government Laws for the administration of local government area where the elections have not been conducted. The committee comprises of a Chairman and six (6) members who superintend over the various councils pending the conduct of an election. As an alternative to duly elected government, caretaker committee is to provide such services that are necessary.
Despite the poor allocations from the federation accounts the CTC is vested with such powers that would better the lots of the people at that level called grassroots or local, but in most local government areas tears actually met the cheek of many people occasioned on ill-attitude, maladministration and inefficient tendencies of some chairmen of the CTC.
Issues Abattoir acknowledged that since the inception of the current administration at the centre, Nigeria economy becomes a night mare hence affected negatively economic activities in almost every sector of the economy.
Aside from the obvious dead economy which however hinders allocations to States and Local Government Areas, the CTC Chairmen and their members sees the setting up of the CTC as avenue to clamp down on the Local Government Area funds other than providing the constitutional needful to the grassroots.
The CTC Chairmen have indeed neglected the essence of the provisions, perhaps champion on the challenges they met.
Challenges are of respective categories but it varies according to the LGA’s. In this edition, Issues Abattoir considers new set of CTC Chairmen and the possible new challenges likely to face them. While some are there only to cart away what they believed is their turn to get, others know their onions, thus prepared for the job soon as their names were mentioned.
One caretaker chairman who is ready for the tax ahead of him is that of Andoni local government area, Engineer, Ofiks Kagbang Christopher. It was gathered that soon as he was nominated by his party he sworn into action when he immediately moved in, to encourage and strengthen the security operatives in the area. The security operatives were to pack out from the area for obvious reasons, but his intervention gave the security men vigor which without gain saying is yielding results today. At the swearing of the said chairman at government house, the people of Andoni who were elated at his nomination expressed sigh of great relief occasion on bad governance witnessed in the area. Already he has outlined his administration’s policies which is believed by many would better the lots of the people. It is Issues Abattoir prayers that he will not deviate.
Within two months in office, Engr. Ofiks had earned the confidence of groups of people, including the road transport workers popularly called Okada riders in Andoni. It is because he resides at the headquarters, tackling security and provides hope for the devastating Oyorokoto community amongst others.
Frankly, the immediate past two sets of CTC Chairmen and their members in most LGA’s have not tried, some had issued with members over incomplete allowances, salaries, some members don’t know what was going on in the council where they were co-administrators.
Admitted, there are challenges but such could not have transmitted into chairmen running their councils from the comfort zones of their hotel rooms, illegally issuing certificates of origin without appropriate, legal and formal documentation.
Issues Abattoir therefore calls on the executive governor of the State to thoroughly access any chairman designate presented to him before calling for their screening. The LGA’s Power brokers should also get through some level of assessments on whoever they want to or have chosen to lead them, to avoid disgrace and public embarrassment.
That apart, most chairmen placed premium on payment of staff salaries but in practice they always could not pay the salaries for reasons best known to them. As concentration is made on payment of salaries, CTC Chairmen should equally acknowledge the fact that there are at the local level citizens who are not earning a living through the councils, therefore should endeavour to positively affect such categories of people from every wards. Doing so could be by deliberately attempting to boast the economy at the LGA’S Level or embark on deliberate empowerment programmes. By so doing living within three (3) to six (6) months could be a positive touch of lives by the current chairmen.
This was an area previous administrations failed thereby subjecting the government at state to certain criticism.
In fact, it was the reason why the governor while swearing in the current CTC Chairmen in government house on Monday 9th May, 2016 emphasized the need to pay workers salaries to avoid salary crisis.
The inability to pay workers salaries by previous CTC Chairmen had without gain saying caused not only starvation in some families but resulted to students partial withdrawal from schools- that was salary crisis that almost called for strike action in LGA’s. CTC Chairmen must ensure that they have good working relationship with workers to foster the need for any explanations.
The New Chairmen must not politicize the serious issues relating to security. Security of the towns and villages in the state must be a flash point to the new set of caretaker administration as it’s a cardinal objective of government at all levels.
Ahoada area, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Andoni, Asari-Toru LGA’S to mention just few are not the only LGA’s where hoodlums operate, several communities especially at the rural areas are also affected, therefore the need for urgent and deliberate crack down on hoodlums by the current CTC administration sworn-in Monday 9th May,2016.
To buttress this important issue on security, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike,CON, during the swearing-in of CTC chairmen at government house, Port Harcourt warned chairmen against trivializing issues on security in their respective LGA’s and urged chairmen to ensure they cater for security operatives in their areas. Interestingly, the governor equally frowned at situation where chairmen took their security votes without having anything to do on poor security circumstances in their localities, and ordered such to stop forth with.
Another area of great concern which poses new challenges on the newly inaugurated council caretaker chairmen is non-adherence to the suffering masses and members of their party at the rural places.
Caring for the electorates and supporters are great virtues that CTC Chairmen must consider very seriously considering that at the grassroots they need government presence to actually flow along and feel the workaholic nature of the governor.
Similarly, embarking on peoples oriented projects however the little it may be, is another challenge steering the CTC Chairmen in the face. People’s oriented projects are essentials of government and desires for the respective constituencies at the rural level therefore must not be ignored. These projects could be human or capital infrastructural development but whichever one that is practically possible must be the concern of the current administration at the local government levels across the state.
Furthermore, the residence of the chairmen who are leaders of the various LGA’s must be at the headquarters. Most CTC bosses detest residing at their respective councils’ area while making hotels at the city their preferred and comfort zone. When chairmen keep away from their LGA’s who then would be there. It is obvious that the presence of the chairmen would eventually force the HLGA’s, HPM’s and others down to work in their respective LGA’s instead of Port Harcourt. Dedication to duty by all must be the basis and desire of the current government and must be led by the CTC Chairmen. In this regard chairmen must sound it as a matter of urgency and importance the need for all to reside at home to provide for adequate and easy accessibility of the government by the people at the grassroots.
Finally, the new administration should as a matter of urgency handle all administrative issues in accordance with laid down principles and avoid the temptation of doing things out of the legal ways.
The challenges before the newly inaugurated CTC Chairmen in the state are indeed enormous but not out of reach rather achievable. The time for repositioning of the local government administration is now. ###
With James Mgboineme