ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, ALHAJI (DR) ABDULFATAH AHMED, THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF KWARA STATE, ON THE OCCASION SWEARING-IN OF THE ELECTED CHAIRMEN OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL AREAS IN KWARA STATE, ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2017
Today’s ceremony is both solemn and pleasing. It is pleasant because we have restored democratic rule at the local government level following a lawful intervention by the state government and successful elections.
As I congratulate our new council chairpersons and members of their family on this well-deserved victory at the polls, let me also state that your emergence is a clear indication of the people’s confidence in you.
You must therefore justify the trust reposed in you by the electorate.
It is, however, equally solemn that the new executive chairpersons of the Local Government Councils are taking over at a time of great economic difficulty.
For all tiers of government, the era relying on federally-allocated revenue to meet statutory obligations is over. This, as you are aware, is because allocation to all tiers of government continues to suffer significant and sustained reduction without any visible sign of recovery, thus hampering capacity to fulfil salary, pension and other developmental obligations. You must therefore synergize with all relevant stakeholders to raise Internally Generated Revenue to meet more of your statutory duties.
Furthermore, I urge you to work with the legislature to enact enabling laws where non-exist to back these revenue drives and with Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS) to exploit existing revenue lines. Every local government, especially those in the cosmopolitan and populated areas, has latent revenue opportunities that must be identified and exploited without imposing additional burden on the people.
That is the only way your administrations can survive and meet the people’s expectations.
Furthermore, you must prioritize due process and prudence in the administration of your various councils. I urge you to shun unnecessary appointments, ostentatious living and other conducts that could call your integrity to question and hamper your capacity to uplift your people in these challenging times.
In the same vein, your operations must be in line with the norms of transparency and accountability to ensure that the electorate’s confidence in your leadership is sustained.
It is also incumbent on you to give security prompt attention and design effective strategies to identify security challenges, move swiftly to nip them in the bud, and escalate to higher authority for prompt action where they are beyond your capability.
I cannot end this speech without addressing the plight of local government workers, pensioners, basic education workers and other workers experiencing salary and pension delays.
As your governor, I feel your pain. I feel your pain in the messages I receive from some of you, in the pleas of your leadership, the challenges faced by your families and the distress expressed in the public space about your distress.
My heart is made heavy by your agony and I desperately want to bring your pain to end.
While we have conducted a staff verification and revenue reforms to free up more funds for salaries and pensions, I recommit to work harder and closer with the local government councils and their new chief executives to find a sustainable solution to this problem.
Owing to the gravity of the situation, we must resist all temptation to politicize the plight of the workers, pensioners and their families. Anyone who genuinely seeks an end to this crisis is invited to join hands with government for a viable solution to the problem instead of using it to score cheap political points.
Finally, I thank the Chairmen and members of the out-gone Transition Implementation Committees for their services to the state and wish them success in all their future endeavors.
Thank you all and God bless.
Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed,
28th November, 2017