Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Thursday inaugurated 67 Executive Secretaries to oversee the administration of Local Governments and Local development Areas in the state.
The Governor at the Multi-purpose Hall, Local Government Service Commission, State Secretariat, Osogbo stated that his administration inherited 30 local governments and an area office.
Aregbesola noted that as it stands today, the state has added 31 new Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs), three Area Councils and two Administrative Offices to make 67 Local Governments and development areas.
He held that Federalism is a constitutional arrangement in which power is shared between the units of government and the central government in which the sphere of authority of each is clearly delineated.
The Governor also added that federating units therefore are the states of the federation and the federal government, making only states and central government the federating partners.
He emphasised that the federal government is not superior to the states and not a supervising authority to the states, just primus inter pares, the first among equals.
According to him, “Local Governments on the other hand, are not federating partners and therefore do not have direct relationship with the Federal Government.
“It is a subversion of the federal principle for the Federal Government or any federal institution or agency to begin to undercut states and forge direct relationship with the Local Government. Understanding this point is important in defining the autonomy of the local government.
The Local Government is an integral part of a state and its autonomy therefore is definable within the state. I agree and support therefore the notion of its autonomy in this light.
“The Local Government should be not be shackled; it should be empowered to operate freely within its domain. It should have a wide latitude of responsibilities, control and operation within its jurisdiction.
“We have had challenges and abuse. Some states have turned their councils into cash cows. While the constitution requires states to guarantee a democratic system in the local government, this has also been subverted into state’s fiefdom. But we cannot throw out the baby with the bath water.
“The principle of federalism is important and we cannot sacrifice this on the altar of convenience. If there are abuses, let us address it, but don’t let us undermine federalism.” The Governor told the gathering.
Aregbesola speaking on Local Government autonomy queried “why do some people demand autonomy at the local government? ” noted that the answer is not far-fetched.
The Governor held that the councils too want to go Abuja and collect monthly allocation from the Federation Account to spend the way they want, which he noted amounts to power without responsibility.
“The greater responsibility and true autonomy consists in being able to mobilise the people in your domain for development through revenue generation and economic participation by all.
“The officials we are inaugurating today have their autonomy within this umbra of responsibility. It is a new day in local government administration.
“Many people have strange ideas on how access to local government administration could be a get rich quick scheme. I have bad news for them.
“All of you being inaugurated today should have it at the back of your mind that this is a call to service, with little or no reward”. The governor stressed.