As Ondo awaits LCDAs
By Adetokunbo Abiola
The Ondo State Government recently announced plans to create Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state, in order to move the government closer to the people at the rural areas.
To this end, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu set up a committee for the creation of the LCDAs, saying the committee would receive the memoranda submitted by the communities seeking local governments or LCDA in the state.
He said, “It (LCDAs creation) is far from the so-called recognition extended to political leaders. It is for the ultimate benefit of the people. It is our expectation that this exercise will restore their dignity and pride as prime producers, and not as incurable consumers of other people’s ideas and products.
The committee set up to deliberate on the LCDAs has three months to submit its report, with the effect from the date of its inauguration, and is chaired by Mr. Lanke Odogiyan, with Mr. Deji Akinwalere serving as its secretary.
The Committee is to invite written/oral memoranda from the public, screen all memoranda and make recommendations to the state government.
It will make extensive consultations with rural communities and their leaders and recommend provisional adjustments of the boundaries of the proposed LCDAs.
It is also expected to recommend to the state government the procedure for the creation of LCDAs out of the existing 18 local government areas, as well as make consultations with community leaders on the provisional adjustment of the boundaries of the proposed LCDAs where necessary.
It is not essentially a new idea, as the administration of the late Adebayo Adefarati contemplated the same thing years before, in an attempt to rejuvenate rural communities all over Ondo State.
Similarly, some states in the country, especially southwestern states such as Lagos, Oyo and Osun States, are already operating the system for the improvement of local communities. Kwara State wanted to do the same thing a few years ago.
While setting up Lagos LCDAs, former Governor Bola Tinubu said LCDAs were crucibles of democracy, because they were closest to the people at the grassroots, while emphasising that their creation would be a blessing to the state.
He acknowledged their importance, saying they will serve as milestones and models for greater development.
It has been argued in some quarters that problems will ensue in the funding of the proposed local council development areas in Ondo State, but as experience in states operating the system has shown, the problem can be easily surmounted.
For instance, funds meant for the existing local government areas can be divided among the old council areas and the new LCDAs.
Already, there’re reactions over the intentions of the state government to set up LCDAs.
The Ondo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has described as laudable the decision of the state government to create Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).
According to the party, the importance of bringing government closer to the people, particularly in a developing setting, cannot be over-emphasised.
The State Chairman, Engr. Ade Adetimehin, said with that singular decision, the Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-led government has once again demonstrated its unquenchable thirst for rural development and unrivalled concern about the welfare of the people.
He said the Ondo APC wholeheartedly supports the idea that will facilitate rapid development, generate employment opportunities, and boost the economy of the new development areas that will be created.
Also, the National Secretary, Forward with Buhari Group, Mr Kayode Ajulo, said that the proposed Local Council Development Areas in Ondo State would make governance vibrant and responsive.
Ajulo said the hallmark of any good government is to provide basic services to the grassroots, which he said is the only way dividends of good governance can spread downwards and touch the people.
He urged the governor to ensure that those who would be eventually appointed would be men and women of proven integrity, who are decent, responsible and with the capacity to add value to the ongoing development of the state above pecuniary gains.
He further implored those that would be saddled with the tasks of running the affairs of LCDAs to remain steadfast and committed to reforms that would make the local governments more responsive to the needs of the people and other policies that would change the face of governance at the third tier of government.
His words: “They must also have passion to touch lives, interact more with the people, share their joy and pains and reside among them.
“It is only through this symbiotic relationship that Ondo can truly say we have begun to understand and serve our people meritoriously and permanently silence the fifth columnists.
“State government must also look inwards by putting in place a strict monitoring, control and feedback process to check excesses from any of the appointees.”
However, a group known as the Sunshine Liberation Front, SLF, has kicked against proposed moves by the Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, to create Local Government Development Areas, LCDAs in the state.
The group, in a statement issued in Akure, described the governor’s decision as dead on arrival, pointing out that the motive behind the move was to score “cheap” political points which is not in the interest of the state.
In the statement signed by the spokesperson of the group, Akinyele Akinwale, the group stated that residents of the state demanded explanation on why the local government election which had earlier been scheduled did not hold, despite budgetary allocation and sales of nomination forms to candidates.
Akeredolu, who spoke during the inauguration of the LCDA creation committee, reiterated that the proposed new local councils would bring government closer to the people of the state.
According to him, the proposed creation of LCDAs was not driven by politics but for the socio-economic well-being of the people.
No one is sure how LCDAs in Ondo State will look like, but every one agrees that LCDAs will boost developments in local communities. The fact that the government is bent on the idea shows it is committed towards development of rural areas.
In other words, lots of actions are going to take place in the state when the LCDA committee submits its proposals.