Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hon.Nsirim and Obio/ Akpor LG re-election victory

Hon.Nsirim and Obio/ Akpor LG re-election victory

Written by Jeff Nkwocha Tuesday, 28 June 2011

There is a big lesson to be learnt from the outcome of the last LG elections in Rivers State, in which the incumbent chairman of Obio/Akpor LG , Prince Timothy Nsirim, JP and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won overwhelmingly.

The lesson for politicians who hold public office is that the electorate do appreciate and indeed reward outstanding performance by holders of public office. In the case of Obio/Akpor LG, the people truly appreciated the monumental achievements recorded by Hon. Nsirim's administration during its first tenure.
This appreciation was expressed in the ballot box which gave him 118,026 votes to trounce his closet rival who got 1,349 votes.

But Prince Nsirim's success in the polls did not come overnight. It was a product of four years of hard work and transformational leadership offered by his administration in the Local Government council.On assumption of office in 2007, the LG Boss left no one in doubt about his mission to transform Obio/Akpor to a model council Area.

He has proved to his people the essence of developpmental governance at the grassroots. From the length and breadth of Obio/Akpor Local Government are torrents of excitement of Nsirim's laudable achievements and success story.

Prince Nsirim JP, has in the past four years taken the administrative political entity within his jurisdiction to higher pedestal and invariably raising the standard of living of the people in complementing the developmental initiatives of the Governor of Rivers State, Right Honourable Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. Nsirim, within the period under review, implemented projects in various sectors and Wards in the local government.

On road projects Nsirim committed council funds to provide 16 link roads in various parts of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council. The link riads include: Chakara/Mission Road Choba, 1.2 km; New Jelusalem Road Eliozu, 1.2 km; Rumuesara Road Eneka, 1.1 km; Palace Street Woji, 400 meters; Thompson Ichegbo Street; Rukpakwadima; Rumuodomaya, 450 meters; Anaka Road Ogbogoro, 900 m; Odoluku Road Elelenwo, 1 km; Isaiah/Odolu Road Rumueme, 1.1 km; Okocha Street Rumuigbo, about 600m; Ihunwo Street Rumuepirikom; Canaan Avenue Rumueperikom, 480 m; Worlu Street Rumuigbo, 400m; Omarunma Road Rumuadolu, 1.1 km; Wobo Street Rumueme, 600m; Amadi Street Rumueme, 1.2 km; Oriebe Road Ozuoba, 1.2km; Okoa Street; Rumuigbo, 400m.
Other projects include Clearing and Dredging of Rumueme Section of Ntawogba Channel; Reconstruction of Parade Ground and Council Cenotaph; Face lift of Rumuokoro and Rumuokwuta Roundabout with National colours.

In fulfilment of his campaign promise to empower women, widows, youths and create employment, Nsirim embarked on market projects to boost commerce and encourage handicrafts. These include International Market with state of the art abattoir at Rukpukwu; 20 open stalls at Rumuagholu Market;
20 open stalls at Rumuoduwere Elelenwo; Lock-up shops at Rumueme; 20 open stalls at Eliozu Market; 20 open stalls at Rumueme Market; Lock-up shops Rumueme; 20 open stalls at Mgbuoba Market; 20 open stalls at Ozuoba Market; 20 open stalls at Rumuekini; 20 open stalls at Elelenwo; 20 open stalls at Rumuolumeni Market, Rumunduru Origwe; 20 open stalls at Rumuokwurusi; 20 open stalls at Rumuoliumeni; 20 open stalls at Rumuodomaya; 20 open stalls at Eriebe; 20 open stalls at Oginigba; 20 open stalls at Rumuomasi; 20 open stalls at Mgbuosini Ora, Azi Rumueme; 20 open stalls at Eliopranwo; 20 open stalls at Mile 4 Market, Rumueme; 20 open stalls at Obi Wali road, Rumuigbo; 20 open stalls at Rumuokwuta; 20 open stalls at Ahia Ezi, Rumuoji Eneka; 20 open stalls at Rumuepirikom Market, etc.
The chairman also constructed standard boreholes in several communities of the 17 wards of the local government area to provide portable water to the indigenes. Communities that benefitted from this scheme include: Rumuodara, drilling and installation, Ward 1; Oroigwe, reactivation/maintenance, Ward 1; Mgbuesilaru and Rumunduru, Ward 2; Rumuokwurusi and Atali, Ward 3; Rumuodomaya and Rumuobochi, Ward 4; Rumuodunwere and Rumueheleze, Ward 5; Oginigba and Rumuogba, Ward 6; Eliogbolo and Elieke, Ward 7; Ayolu nu Inyanwa and Rumuezeolu Community, Ward 8; Elioparanwo and Wike Road, Ward 9; Oro-Akor and Oro Azi, Ward 10; Rumukpakani and Rumuchiolu, Ward 11; Rumuomi and Rumuorosi, Ward 12; Olanada and Rumuoganuolu, Ward 13; Rumuehinwo and Rumapu, Ward 14; Rumuekini and Alakahia, Ward 15; Ozuoba and Rumuokwachi, Ward 16; Mgbuakara and Mgbuoshimini, Ward 17; Rukpokwu Water Scheme with generator; Council Secretariat Water Scheme and a lot of other water projects for various communities.

The take over of the payment of primary school teacher's salaries by the State Government generated respite for Nsirim. The council boss utilized the funds that would have been expended on salaries to provide succour for the less privileged and disabled students and scholars of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area. Some of the beneficiaries include: Igwe George (Trainee Pilot), Professor J. O. Akaninwor (International Research), Adiele Favour. Others include Akandu Ikechi, Chimene Chinda, Emenike Eziwho, Amadi Collins, Igweh Bright, Kunge Ozioms, Job Peter O., Ndamati Bright, Omakalu Kamalu, Ozuru Philip, Weli Oluwene, Worlu O. charles, Worlu Amaewhule.

Nsirim also sponsored over 30 students to Law Schools in Abuja, Enugu, Lagos and Kano. The governor's policy thrust of overhauling, strengthening and delivering efficient and effective, affordable primary, secondary and tertiary health care services to the people, received a boost in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area. In his complementary responsibilities Nsirim spent public funds on the implementation of policies and programmes on Roll Black Malaria, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, leprosy, as well as environmental health.

In the recent Health Care Delivery Survey by World Health Organization (WHO) in Rivers State, Obio/Akpor Local Government was declared the best among the 23 local governments.

On power generation,several communities in the 17 Wards, notably Eliowhani, Rumuekini, Rukpakolusi, Rumuchinda, etc, were provided transformers by the chairman to enhance electricity distribution. Skills acquisition facilities were provided at Rumuepirikom. These include: computers, printers, Office furniture, for business centers, as well as hair dressing equipments for saloon and sewing machines.

Despite land constraints, the incumbent Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council built an ultra modern fish farm at Rumuekini, to boost agricultural productivity.

Though not necessarily considering this as achievement but expected responsibilities, it is remarkable that the Chairman renovated six office blocks, provided utility vehicles and modern office furniture.

This compendium is widely believed to have situated Nsirim within the realm of superintending grassroots developmental governance that is in compliance with Millennium Development Goals and capable of generating potent stimulant for growth and sustainability of democracy in Nigeria.

Jeff Nkwocha
LG Study Network

Reform Local Government system now

Date Published: 06/16/11

Reform Local Government system now by Jeff Nkwocha

Dear Editor,

Federal government has initiated a number of reforms to position the financial Institutions, the police, electoral system and Nigeria stock exchange for service delivery.Nigerians were taken aback to learn that several attempts to reposition LG system since 1999 had failed.

In one of his lectures with the theme, Reposition local Government administration to meet the challenges of vision 20-20-20, senator Ike Ekweremadu said,"It also logically follows that without prejudice to problems requiring policy interventions and political will, the local Governments need constitution review interventions to reposition them for challenges of good governance, sustainable development and vision 20-20-20.

In the same vein, the sun newspaper in its recent editorial page had highlighed the plight and the way forward for the third tier of government and I quote, "Local government administration and control remains one knotty problem in the present democratic dispensation. Since the restoration of democracy in the country 12 years ago, the Federal Government has oftentimes been at loggerheads with the state governments, particularly over the composition of local governments and the control of their funds. The disagreement between the Federal and state governments has its roots in how the councils are managed, especially with regard to their expenditure.

The major bone of contention is whether the management of the councils should be the responsibility of the states. The other issue is that the local government system has been so greatly undermined to the extent that it cannot effectively play its role as agent of development at the grassroots, in spite of huge monthly allocations from the Federation Account. Some overbearing state governors who withhold huge chunks of council funds undermine the local government system in the Nigeria.

Within the last couple of years, several attempts made to resolve the issue stretched to the Supreme Court. On more than three occasions in the last 12 years, the apex court delivered landmark judgments on issues affecting management of local governments. One of these judgments was on the tenure of local council leadership. Another held that the Federal Government had no right to withhold council funds. The 1999 Constitution, as recently amended, has created more problems, as many issues remain unresolved.

Everything considered, the future of local governments appears bleak if genuine review of the system is not carried out urgently. The present arrangement is no longer consistent with emerging democratic realities. Any meaningful review must be such that should be based on the peculiar exigencies of the states. It is in the best interest of fiscal federalism to allow the states arrange how best to run the councils.

With 12 unbroken years of democratic practice, nothing less than a strong and reasonably independent local government system that will drive development at the grassroots will do. The time has come for the political leadership of the country to work out a roadmap for the management of the local governments in line with their constitutionally assigned duties. The new arrangement must determine, clearly, such issues as the mode of election, tenure of elected members as well as income generation, accountability and financial control. The current situation in which local governments exist at the mercy of state governments is no longer acceptable. We, therefore, call for a review or outright abolition of the states/local governments joint account to allow for more autonomy for the councils, albeit with in-built mechanism to check financial recklessness by council leaders.

Democracy achieves its purpose when the interests of the people are well served. That noble objective will continue to be undermined if the local government system as presently constituted is not comprehensively reviewed.

If we are to promote rapid development in this country,effective changes has to be effected in our councils areas.

Jeff Nkwocha

LG Study Network


Monday, December 26, 2011

State Governors and LG’s allocations

State Governors and LG’s allocations

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in its economic report for the third quarter of 2011 announced that the total receipts by the 774 LG councils from the Federation and VAT pool Accounts for the period of July, August and September was N493.77 billion. The question is does this money actually reach the local government councils. The answer is No. Media report indicated how allocations to LGAs’ were been high jacked by state governors, used for electioneering campaigns, shared among traditional rulers, political God-fathers, members of state assemblies or out rightly diverted to non-exiting projects.

The latest criminal fad now is state governors redistribute allocations to LG from the federation account and give less than N20 million to each council to pay salaries, and take care of their overhead costs.

In his memo to Nigerians, Hon. Felix Akhabue, National President of Association of local government of Nigeria ALGON, said, ‘A situation where allocations already made to the local governments by the Federation Allocation Account Committee (FAAC) are subjected to redistribution by the state government is a clear breach of the constitution. The question is can the federal government police funds disbursed to the state governments from federation account. The answer is a clear NO. Then where does the state derive the legal and moral backing to do the same to local governments. Statutory allocations to each tier of government should be sacrosanct; it is only by being so that you can hold that tier of government responsible and accountable’.

If we are to reposition our councils for effective services delivery to the people, eradicate poverty, provide infrastructure, the constitution should be amended to stop meddling with council finances by the states.

•Jeff Nkwocha
LG Study Network
Warri Delta state

Anambra LG poll: waiting for Godot?

Anambra LG poll: waiting for Godot?

SIR: The non conduct of local government election in Anambra State since 1999 has continued to attract wide condemnations not only in the statebut all over the country.

Governor Babaginda Aliyu of Niger State has urged Nigerians to exercise their constitutional rights by forcing out state governors subverting the nation’s constitution by using caretaker committee chairmen to run LG councils areas. He made a particular reference to Anambra state when he stated, “I am made to understand that only nine states have elected councils in the country and about 27 states are yet to conduct election for their local government councils in fact, there is a state that since 1999 has never had election.

Why has Anambra State chosen to work at cross purposes with other state governments when it comes to local government development in the country? No matter their claim over rural development, the essence of creating local government which is to bring governance closer to the people, to preserve heritage and common interests of the communities is already defeated in the state.

The Anambra State government led by Governor Peter Obi has perfected the art of postponing LG poll every year. On December 4 2010, LG election was postponed after nomination fees were collected from aspirants. This year again, the November/December date has become untenable after the chairmanship aspirants paid a whooping N1 million to pick nomination forms. Governor Peter Obi will be advancing all sorts of excuses why council election will not hold in the state ranging from lack of fund, insecurity, new voters card but forgetting that the same challenges were faced by other state governments that conduct LG polls in their states.

According to Professor Titus Eze, the former Anambra state Independent Electoral
Commission, ANSIEC chairman, “this atmosphere is intentionally created to enable them not to hold the council election ad-infinitum. Perhaps, the crux of the matter is huge monthly allocation meant to local government’.

Let Gov. Obi take a cue from Gov. Sullivan Chime of neighbouring Enugu State who has been consistently conducting LG poll without even appointing caretaker committee chairmen.

• Jeff Nkwocha,
Warri, Delta State.