Video: 'I've not taken Kobo from Local Government' says Obaseki

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The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has inaugurated 118 officials as liaisons in the 18 local government areas in the state.

The liaison who would report directly to him on matters concerning the LGAs will last for "not more than 120 days" before

"These liaisons, I believe their tenure would not last for more than 120 days because we should have conducted elections," the governor said.

Obaseki described the Local government situation in the state as a "lacuna in terms of the political governance." adding that his government have had to use civil servants to manage the local government for over a year, describing it as "unideal."

Obaseki said, "We expect that we will be able to have an election of the local government after the series of elections."

Godwin Obaseki
Godwin Obaseki

The governor said, "Our concerns as a government are that we don't want to start another year and leave the LGAs unguarded in terms of the policy direction of government, so we decided that we would appoint my liaison officers who report to me directly in each local government to let me know and brief me on what is going on with the local government."

In 2021, Obaseki conducted audits of the 18 local governments, which he said are still not reviewed to take corrective action "to stem the haemorrhage and the lack of processes we saw from the audit reports" due to lack of councils.

He added, "I am going to be conducting another update audit for 2022 on the activities of each local government to see whether things have deteriorated further or improved.

"One of the challenges we saw in the audit report was the inability of the local government to sustain itself financially. For most local governments, there were about three or four who could not cover their salaries bills on an ongoing basis.

"At the time they distribute what comes from federal allocations, they have very little or no revenue base and have a very high cost of staff. The danger we face today, local government exist only to pay salaries. They cannot intervene in projects in these local governments, and that is not the purpose of the constitution. Local governments are supposed to be independent and self-sufficient."

Obaseki said the state had had to take responsibilities that are purely local governments' adding, "it is not the function of the state to clean the market and sweep the street.

Obaseki also told his newly appointed liaisons that he had not taken "one kobo of the local government revenue," adding that "if anything, sometimes, when the situation becomes very difficult, we take from our own reserve to support the local government.

The governor also said that for local government to be autonomous, it must be able to pay its way.

"It is irresponsible not to have a view of what is going on in the local government. I want to make it 'very clear that not since I have been governor, I have not touched one Kobo of the local government revenues. If anything, sometimes, when the situation becomes very difficult, we take from our own reserve to support the local government. The issue of local government autonomy, we believe in it, but you cannot be autonomous if you cannot pay your way," Obaseki said.

He added, "For us, local government autonomous in Edo means LG have to be run properly so they can be self-sufficient.

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