*We demand local council election and probe of the finances of Senator Ajimobi-led government
The Socialist Party of Nigeria, SPN, Oyo State chapter condemns and describes as undemocratic and fraudulent the continuing decision of the Abiola Ajimobi-led government of appointing caretakers as the head of the local council governments in the state.
The SPN sees the recent appointments of a new set of local council caretakers’ chairmen by Senator Ajimobi-led government for the fourth times since the inception of the regime in 2011 as a ploy to continue to maintain its autocratic grip and control over the local council resources and funds. No wonder that most of the newly appointed caretaker chairmen are either pliable elements or family members/acolytes of the Governor and his associates who can easily be manipulated or used as rubberstamp of government plan which is usually centred around how the funds and revenues of local councils will continue to be monopolized and diverted for pecuniary interests of the state government; while the people remain in the dark on how funds allocated to the local councils are being spent.
In the last six years, over 200 billion naira has accrued to local councils in the state from the federation account. This is aside many other counterpart funds from federal government agencies and organisations like Universal Basic Education Council (UBEC). Yet there is nothing to show for these huge resources in terms of practical improvement in the living condition of both the workers and the poor masses at different local council across the state.
Instead, the entire local councils and the services they provide in the state are in decrepit conditions. For instance, most local and intra-township roads are in terrible state. Most of the public health institutions especially the primary health care services are in terrible conditions, lacking basic facilities to run effective medical services. This is as a result of chronic underfunding of health sector. Educational supports such as provision of educational materials like textbooks, note books, chalk, etc., that used to be given by local councils in the past has long been stopped. The most ridiculous is that, local council workers like their counterpart under state ministries are owed salary arrears ranging from 5 to 10 months.
It is in view of this that SPN believes that behind the periodic imposition of a new set of caretaker chairmen by Ajimobi-led government is a motive that is far from bringing about effective grassroots development in the state. Instead it is an arrangement to cover-up for its misdeeds and misplacement of funds meant for the development of various local councils in the state.
This is why SPN continues to demand Local government elections that can the people at the grassroots the opportunity to elect their representatives and political office holders like the chairmen and chancellors through a democratic electoral system that guarantees equal rights for all political parties. At the same time, the SPN calls for a public probe panel composed by elected representatives of trade unions, communities, artisan groups and youth organisations to carry out extensive investigation into finances of local councils in the state under Ajimobi-led government.
Secretary, SPN Oyo State